ORCA CAPTURING IN KAMCHATKAN WATERS
November, 2002 Sevvostrybvod got papers about Total Allowable catches. In zone of responsibility of Sevvostrybvod (Petropavlovsko-Komandorskaya subzone) 4 orca were granted for capture. Also, two orca were granted for capture in East-Sakhalin subzone (controlled by Sakhalinrybvod) and four - in North Okhotomorskaya subzone (controlled by Magadanrybvod).
January, 20 Sevvostrybvod received a telex message from Glavrybvod, State Committee of Fisheries, Moscow. All 4 orca were intended for Pacific Aqua Trading Company Ltd (PAT), situated in Nakhodka, Primorskiy region.
In the middle of July Pacific Aqua Trading applyed for permit and on August, 5 Sevvostrybvod issued to PAT permit for capture of 4 orca, with using of seine. Captors planed to rent middle-sized trawler "Nazimovo", owned by AKROS fishing company.
25.08.2003 Nazimovo went to the sea. Capture runs with using of seine nets (length - 800 meters, height - 100 meters, cells 60-120 millimeters). Captors operated in Avacha Bay on range from Halaktyrsky beach to Povorotny cape. 11 attempts of orca netting were made (at least one - near Starickov,).
First successful attempt made September, 3 near entrance of Jirovaya bay. 2 whales were netted, but animals ripped the nets and escaped.
During last netting, 26 September, "south by cape Opasniy" in coordinates 52 38 03 N 158 34 06 E group, which consist ~30 animals were netted. At least 1 calf presented at this group. During capture operation 1 orca died, 1 were captured and hauler onboard of Nazimovo. All another members of group were released. Statement, declared capture was drawn up.
Captured female (body length 426 cm, body mass 1400 kg) was transported to floating pen in Avacha bay, cape Kazak. Transportation from capture place to floating pen was made during 4 hrs 23 min.
At floating pen animal spent 10 days (from 26 Sep to 5 Oct). During this period experts of UD observed the animal. Defrosted Atka mackerel was suggested to this whale as food, but it was no evidence that she started to eat.
3, October PAT applied for certificate for handling and transportation of captured animal, and certificate was immediately signed.
5, October female was captured in the pen with using of "false bottom" technique for transportation to Anapa (Krasnodar region) in Utrish dolphinarium. Some medical treatment, was made: injection of antibiotic and antistress drugs, special drugs dropped in eyes. Whale was transported to airport in special bath, placed on truck's trailer. Bath was filled with water to allow whale be in "swimming conditions". Transportation operations started at 13:00 (whale placed in bath).
At 14:00 truck with whale and police escort came in Yelizovo Airport, and 17:50 loaded in cargo aircraft An-26. 40 hrs later orca was delivered to Utrish Dolphinarium.
There are Rules for capture and transportation of cetaceans for scientific, cultural and another non-commercial purposes in Russia. Previously this rules were designed for capture of small cetaceans (dolphins in Black Sea). Capture of orca showed inconsistency between the rules and conditions of capture. Orca captors usually targeted young animals. But, if capture run in accordance with rules, it seems impossible to catch orca, because their groups usually consist yearlings (netting of groups with yearlings is prohibited by rules), or are larger than 5 individuals (netting of groups larger than 5 individuals is also prohibited, but during successful attempt near 30 whales were netted) and some small groups usually include adult whales. For next year captors will try to change the rules on government level.
Moreover, there is contradictory information about circumstances of orca death during capturing. By the official version, it was young 2-year-old female, but later it became known that really it was much older.
If approach to the rules and capture formally, it is possible to fine captors 50000 RF rubles (1670 $) per every dead orca.
But controlling institutions has approached to this activity pretty indulgently, explained this that experience of orca captures is absent in Russia and present rules not correspond to conditions of killer whales capture.
So, first orca was captured in Russian waters. Absence of experience and coincidence of circumstances led to the death of one animal. Capture made without accordance with present rules, but Sevvostrybvod approached this fact indulgently. Controlling system doesn't work in this case. Public was informed about capture through local commercial radio stations, internet and local newspapers (article in newspaper just have informed about capture as first Russian experience and doesn't show negative facts of it.) Captors obtained some experience and proved possibility of capture. Next year capture will be continued.