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Sustainable Russian Sockeye Salmon

Salmonids Sustainability +2 more

RUSSIA - Two Russian Federation companies, Vityaz-Avto Co, Ltd and Delta Co, Ltd., have entered the Ozernaya River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) fishery into full, independent, third-party assessment against the Marine Stewardship Councils principles and criteria for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. If successful, products would be eligible to display the blue MSC ecolabel.

This is the eighth Russian Federation fishery to enter assessment and the first on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which accounts for one-fifth of the Russian Federation’s seafood.

The fishery entering full assessment is located on the Southwest Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, in FAO statistical area 61. The fishing season is July - September. In 2009, the companies involved in this assessment accounted for approximately five thousand metric tonnes. Historically, the two companies account for between 23 – 32 per cent of the total catch, but the assessment will evaluate the effects of all fisheries on Ozernaya salmon. The fishery does not have hatcheries.

The companies use two gear types for commercial fishing. Sockeye salmon are fished with beach seines in the Ozernaya River and fish trap nets are used on the Pacific Ocean coast. In 2009, 88 percent of the catch came from the Ozernaya River. The fishery is managed under Russian federal and state salmon management systems.

The commercial market for sockeye salmon from this fishery is primarily Japan, and a portion of the catch also goes to US and European markets.

“Our fishery is the best-managed and most extensively researched salmon fishery in Russia,” said Aleksandr Tarasov, the Managing Director of “Vityaz-avto, Ltd.”, one of the two commercial fishing companies entering the program. “We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the health and sustainability of this important natural resource.”

Kerry Coughlin, Regional Director, Americas, said: “Located in one of the most important and productive fishery regions in the Russian Federation, the full assessment of Ozernaya River sockeye salmon fishery represents a significant milestone in efforts by Russian fisheries to demonstrate they are operating sustainably and, if successful, certification will bring market advantages to this fishery.”