Russia's pollock industry is facing unprecedented challenges as this year's "A" season begins, with key markets sanctioned and its most important trading partner, China, hanging under a cloud of COVID uncertainty.

Harvesting for pollock in the the country's primary fishing area, the Sea of Okhotsk, began Jan. 1. The total allowable catch (TAC) in the region is down 6 percent from last year, to 897,000 metric tons.

Markets for Russian pollock have been upended since Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine last year, with direct