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Sea fish of Kamchatka

Gadidae

Representatives of this family are the most numerous species observed in Kamchatka coastal waters. Their specific features are three dorsal fins, two anal fins, and a chin barbel.

 

Walleye pollock

This is the most common and numerous species occurring in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. The species is commonly found in Kamchatka waters near the eastern Pacific coast, Sea of Okhotsk coast, and western coast of the Bering Sea. This species is quite big in size, with maximum length of 93 cm and weight – up to 5 kg. The maximum age of life is 16 years. Specimens at the age of more than 8 years are quite rare. A Walleye pollock is a fast growing fish, the biggest length growth is observed in early pre-pubescence years.
The walleye pollock is an autumn-winter-spring run fish, the spawning period beginning later in the northern areas of the habitat. The species is characterized by seasonal migration depending on certain lifecycle periods. During the pre-spawning period, pubescent walleye pollocks concentrate near spawning regions at the depth of 200-300 meters. As the genital products develop, the species moves towards the shelf; by the end of the spawning period the reproducing specimens go up to the depth of 40-50 meters. After spawning, walleye pollock gradually leaves the spawning areas and disseminates both at the shelf and shallow depths and above oceanic depths up to 2-3 thousand meters. Nutrition chain: the walleye pollock is mainly a plankton eating fish.

Pacific cod

Throughout its habitat, this species is particularly often observed in the Kamchatka coastal water. Maximum occurrence is observed in the waters with temperature from zero to 4 ?С, which accounts for frank seasonal bathymetrical distribution, with migrations along the coast being limited. The pacific cod is a big and fast growing fish. Its length may reach 115-120 cm, and weight – 18-20 kg, the biggest specimen are commonly met near South-East Kamchatka. The catch mainly contains specimens 50-80 cm long, weighing 2-5 kg.
The maximum registered age is 15 years. The major mart of nearly 50% of the catch is composed of specimens at the age of 3-6 years, the fish older than 8 years occurs quite rarely. The pacific cod reaches pubescence at the age of 6 years, when it is 70 cm long.
Spawning takes place in winter and spring: January-May, the climax is reached in February-April. Spawning period dates shift to the spring (March-April) in western part of the Bering Sea and north-west of Kamchatka coast. For reproduction, the pacific cod runs from the coast to the upper part of the mainland slope, where it gathers to form pre-spawning and spawning colonies. A big pacific cod is an active predator eating intensively walleye pollock, herring, capelin and squid, though it may also prey upon bottom invertebrates (crabs, shrimps, worms).

Saffron cod

It occurs almost everywhere in Kamchatka coastal waters, from Penzhin Bay (north-west coast) to the western part of the Bering Sea. The most numerous groups are met near firths of big rivers, sometimes the fish goes up into the lower courses of the rivers. The species may grow up to 53 cm and have a weight up to 1.1 kg, age of life – up to 15 years. The catch is usually represented by specimens 25-35 cm long, as a rule 2-4, and sometimes 5 years old. At this age the fish reaches pubescence. The species reproduces in costal waters, gulfs, bays, in freshened waters near river firths in December-March. It is very sensitive to temperature during reproduction period: spawning takes place under ice at a temperature of 1.6-1.8 ?С below zero. After spawning, saffron cod disseminates in the coastal waters, but doesn’t go far into the sea and occurs in the disseminated state; it is unlikely to form colonies.


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