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BC Pink Salmon Awarded MSC Certification

Salmonids Welfare Sustainability +6 more

CANADA - The independent certification body, Moody Marine Limited, has awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification to three British Columbia pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) salmon fisheries that were entered into assessment by the Canadian Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Society.

The assessment process included stakeholder engagement by British Columbia (BC) conservation organisations that provided important additional information to the assessment team.

The certifiers final report reflects a collaborative effort to address concerns proactively and identify specific fishery improvements over the five year life of the certification. For instance, the certification body attached requirements for the collection of new scientific data and additional, independent monitoring that can assist Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), which manages the fisheries.

Christina Burridge, director of the Canadian Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Society, said: "We want to see healthy and sustainable fisheries that protect stocks while supporting livelihoods and communities. The open, transparent process required by the MSC enabled stakeholders to engage in a meaningful way and help us achieve an outcome we can all support."

Ms Burridge also said: BC fishermen and processors are very pleased that the pink salmon fishery has been independently certified as well-managed and sustainable against the MSC standard in time for the 2011 season. With more customers demanding independent verification of sustainability, we can now compete with other Pacific pink fisheries."

Kerry Coughlin, MSC regional director, Americas, said: We congratulate the BC pink salmon fishery on successful completion of the assessment process, and appreciate the valuable input of organisations with knowledge of the fishery. Stakeholder engagement through an open, transparent process underscores one of the unique strengths of the MSC programme, and this assessment process is a good example. Having a fishery that is MSC certified sustainable and contributing to the lives and livelihoods of people in British Columbia is a good outcome for everyone.

The certified fisheries are located in Canadian Pacific EEZ and British Columbia coastal waters. The certification covers pink salmon fisheries in the Fraser River, its mainstream and tributaries below the Mission Bridge; North and Central Coasts of British Columbia, including Queen Charlotte Islands; and, the Inner South Coast including Johnstone Strait, the Strait of Georgia, Northeast and mid-Vancouver Island, and Toba Inlet and Jervis Inlet. The certification covers all current commercial fisheries.

Seines catch 90-95 per cent of the pink salmon harvest with troll and gillnet harvesting the rest. DFO Pacific Region manages the fisheries. Commercial fishing is regulated by licenses issued by DFO, which also regulates the season, gear types, hook style, net dimensions, bycatch and catch limits. DFOs mandate includes responsibility for the conservation and sustainable use of Canada's fisheries resources.

As a species, pink salmon return to spawn primarily on two-year cycles, and in BC the largest runs return on odd-years. In 2009, the commercial catch was 13,400 metric tonnes. All commercial salmon landings are subject to weight verification and the issuance of sales slips which are forwarded to DFO to use in catch monitoring. Commercial salmon harvesters are also required to maintain accurate logbooks, and conduct frequent phone-ins.

The commercial market for BC pink salmon is worldwide.