July 21, 2018

North Pacific Needs Ban on New Salmon Hatcheries, Group Says

Salmon conditions in the North Pacific warrant a moratorium on new salmon hatcheries; redoubled efforts to curb illegal fishing and trading in Russia and improved data transparency from all production areas, according to a new report form the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. The analysis looked at 81 fisheries in the North Pacific that target the five primary species of salmon: Chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye. Together they account for 97 percent of the wild-caught salmon worldwide.

SalmonThe report looked at each of the wild salmon producing regions in the Pacific, Alaska, British Columbia, Russia, Japan, and the US Pacific Northwest, and used five scoring criteria to group them into three categories: Category A for fisheries that score 8 or above across all FishSource criteria; Category B  for fisheries that score 6 or above across all FishSource criteria and Category C  for fisheries where at least one criterion is scored below 6.

About 21 percent of the fisheries were in Category A, or very good condition, including 84 percent of coho fisheries, 49 percent of sockeye fisheries,  21 percent of pink fisheries, 16 percent of Chinook fisheries and 4 percent of chum fisheries. Around 30 percent fisheries fell into Category B, meaning they are in good condition but would benefit from improvements in management responsiveness or hatchery impacts including 65 percent of Chinook, 40 percent of sockeye, 36 percent of pink, and 16 percent each of coho and chum. And 49 percent of the total volume of Pacific salmon comes from Category C- fisheries with significant management, stock status, or hatchery impacts issues, and where significant improvements are needed. These included 80 percent of chum, 43 percent of pink, 18 percent of Chinook, and 11 percent of sockeye salmon global harvest volumes.  No coho fisheries were included in Category C.

Sixteen of the 25 fisheries in Category C are in Russia. That’s about 53 percent of Russian fisheries  that need significant improvement.  In Japan, only chum salmon fisheries were evaluated and all of them fell in to Category C. These rating were attributed mainly to “poorly understood and unmitigated hatchery impacts on wild stocks” in both countries and illegal fishing in Russia.

“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 emphasizes 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,” said Sustainable Fisheries Partnership CEO Jim Cannon, in a statement about the report.

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