Wide variations in salmon sustainability

Chinook salmon. Credit: Zureks/ CC BY-SA 3.0 Chinook salmon. Credit: Zureks/ CC BY-SA 3.0

A report by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) has found that half of wild Pacific salmon stocks are good shape, while the other half needs help.

The sustainability overview covers fisheries that supply five commercial species of wild Pacific salmon - Chinook, chum, coho, pink, and sockeye salmon.

The analysis shows that 51% of the global supply of wild Pacific salmon comes from fisheries in good shape, while 49% comes from fisheries in need of significant improvements. While the large majority of salmon fisheries in good shape are located in Alaska, the report highlights that there are good, medium, and poor salmon fisheries in each salmon-producing region (Alaska, British Columbia, Russia, Japan, and the US Pacific Northwest).

Salmon hatcheries remain a leading sustainability concern across all salmon-producing regions, and illegal fishing and management of mixed-stock fisheries are also sustainability concerns.

For the 2013 season, only 7% of wild salmon fisheries are currently MSC certified. An additional 39% of the global supply is in full assessment. Reassessment of Alaska salmon fisheries has experienced several delays, and a significant portion of Alaskan salmon fisheries (Prince William Sound) cannot be certified before 2014.

Commenting on the results of the report, Jim Cannon, CEO of SFP, said, “Wild salmon sustainability has been a huge topic of concern for the seafood industry over the last year. The variation among salmon fisheries highlights the need to have detailed sourcing information, and emphasises the role robust certification schemes can play in the market. Industry should encourage the development of improvement projects in all salmon fisheries with sustainability concerns.”

The report can be found here.

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