Wild Salmon Center Newsletter
In this issue
State of the Salmon 2009
International conference addresses wild salmon challenges and conservation strategies
On February 2-5, 2009, State of the Salmon, Wild Salmon Center, and Ecotrust will host the equivalent of an "International Wild Salmon Summit" in Vancouver, British Columbia. The four-day public event will feature the world's most prominent salmon experts from Russia, Japan, Korea, Canada and the United States. Participants will discuss international strategies and solutions for habitat protection, fisheries management and the global economics of wild salmon across the Pacific Rim.
"This will be an exceptional gathering of fisheries managers, researchers, indigenous groups, conservation organizations, commercial fishermen and public agencies from around the world and provides a forum to explore how we move from conservation principles to action today," said Rich Lincoln, Director of State of the Salmon.
The event is the only conference dedicated to the conservation of Pacific salmon throughout their native range. Rapidly changing climate, habitat and markets highlight the need for key scientific information and effective management practices from the Pacific Rim salmon nations.
The conference will feature keynote speakers such as Dr. David Suzuki, a renowned conservationist and award-winning broadcaster, and Dr. Crawford (Buzz) Holling, a pioneer in the field of ecology. Numerous expert panels will explore and discuss wild salmon conservation efforts in the Russian Far East, Japan, Alaska, Korea, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. An emphasis will be placed on forging conservation solutions for wild salmon both regionally and internationally.
Please join us for the only conference dedicated to the conservation of Pacific salmon throughout their native range.
Fisherman in Sakhalin, Russia
Wild Salmon Center Program Addresses Sustainable Fisheries
Finding a common ground between conservation and industry becomes increasingly important to the fate of wild salmon in a global economy
The Wild Salmon Center has developed an innovative program that uses the power of the global marketplace to incentivize conservation of the last great salmon ecosystems of the North Pacific. By protecting wild salmon ecosystems, we preserve biodiversity, safeguard clean rivers, and maintain the cultural heritage of the Pacific Rim. However, one benefit that is often overlooked is the economic value of salmon conservation. Salmon inspire us with their beauty and resilience, but few of us think about salmon as a billion-dollar-a-year industry. If we start thinking of salmon conservation as a way to keep salmon on our dinner plate, it takes on a whole new dimension. Through partnerships with fishermen, suppliers and seafood retailers, Wild Salmon Center has an opportunity to make a significant difference in salmon conservation and management.
Getting Major Buyers on Board. In early 2006, Wal-Mart, the world's largest retail seller of seafood, made a commitment to source all of their wild capture seafood products from sustainable sources by 2011. This commitment represents nothing less than a sea-change in the way global multinationals are doing business. This commitment is impacting the entire chain of supply, from how seafood suppliers do business down to the methods fishermen use to make their catch.
Why are companies like Wal-Mart making these commitments? Bottom line-sustainability makes good business sense. Corporate executives understand that the total collapse of salmon ecosystems would put them out of business. Forward thinking companies are realizing that it is in their best interest not only to commit to buying sustainable sources of seafood, but to also actively advocate for the management reforms necessary to make sustainable seafood a reality.
Using Market Incentives to Promote Sustainable Practices. In places like the Russian Far East, where poaching and illegal fisheries are reaching epidemic proportions, market based approaches may be our only hope in protecting these last great salmon ecosystems. WSC is working with fishermen and major buyers to implement new programs, such as MSC certification, to make legal, sustainable fishing more profitable. By rewarding fishermen that adhere to the highest standards in sustainability we help ensure the future of salmon.
SFP, WSC staff, and buyers tour Sakhalin fisheries
Notes from the Field: Sakhalin, Russia
Bringing Buyers and Fishermen Together Toward a Common Goal
In early 2008, Wild Salmon Center and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) initiated a collaborative effort to use market-based incentives to encourage sustainable fisheries practices in the Russian Far East. Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is an international NGO that is successfully encouraging major commercial seafood buyers to source sustainable, third party certified seafood thereby providing incentives for best practices in fishery management (see above article on SFP).
In September 2008 Brian Caouette and Julie Kuchepatov of WSC, and Howard Johnson of SFP, with great support from the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative Center, hosted several major international seafood buyers for a tour of Sakhalin's commercial salmon fisheries. Executives from Trident Seafood (one of largest US-based seafood companies) and Highliner Foods (largest Canadian seafood company) visited salmon processing plants, hatcheries, and several wild rivers filled with spawning salmon. A highlight of the trip for the group was participating in a commercial trap net fishery that was actively harvesting thousands of silvery salmon.
Representatives of Trident Seafood and Highliner Foods, two companies that have made a commitment to sustainability and are currently sourcing and advocating for MSC certified fisheries, met with members of the Sakhalin Administration, representatives of commercial fisheries unions and with fishermen themselves. At these meetings Russian fishermen were able to receive first-hand accounts from representatives of the tangible market benefits that come with a sustainably managed fishery and MSC certification and, in turn, buyers were able to learn more about the challenges and opportunities for commercial fisheries in Russia. This tour, along with support of MSC certification of salmon fisheries and facilitating NGO collaboration in international sustainable fisheries work, is part of Wild Salmon Center's larger strategy to increase global awareness and support for the long-term, effective management of wild salmon fisheries across the Pacific Rim.
Fish market in Kamchatka (Photo Credit: The Fly Shop)
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) is a relatively new non-governmental organization currently working directly with major seafood buyers and the Wild Salmon Center to promote sustainability in the Russian Far East's salmon fishery. SFP is working to connect buyers to healthy sources of seafood and is developing metrics that these companies can use to evaluate their seafood procurement in terms of sustainability, thereby creating economic incentives for best management practices. (For more on SFP, visit sustainablefish.org)
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and seller of seafood products, made a commitment in 2006 to source all of its wild capture seafood from sustainable sources. Since then a number of other major international seafood buyers have followed suit, including Whole Foods, Metro, Disney, Darden, and Sainsbury. This shift represents a sea-change in the way the seafood industry is doing business and, more importantly for fisheries conservation, is resulting in new market pressures and rewards for improving salmon and other fishery management across the Pacific Rim.
According to Howard Johnson, Director of Buyer's Liaison for SFP and recognized expert in the field of corporate seafood sustainability, seafood buyers have historically not played a major role in fishery improvement. "However, "Johnson stated, "large corporations have found that it was in their best interest to use their purchasing influence to foster fishery improvement and sustainability."
Sustaining a billion dollar industry
One of the top three seafood products sold in the US, salmon is in high demand and WSC is working directly with fishermen and major seafood buyers to promote sustainable practices. Certification has proven to be a powerful tool, as it both rewards suppliers for best practices and offers consumers a higher quality product. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the principal eco-label certifying the sustainability of commercial fisheries worldwide.
Under the MSC program, 38 commercial fisheries have been certified and over 80 more are under assessment, including several salmon fisheries in British Columbia, the US, Russia and Japan. There are now more than 1,900 MSC-labeled products sold in 40 countries.
- Annual harvest/ catch amounts per region*:
- Alaska, U.S.350,000 mt
- Hokkaido, Japan170,000 mt
- Kamchatka, Russia130,000 mt
- Sakhalin, Russia 125,000 mt
- Pacific NW <10,000 mt
- Average number of people employed in commercial fishing industry (including salmon) by region:
- Hokkaido, Japan20,000
- Sakhalin, Russia18,500
- Alaska, U.S.18,000
- Kamchatka, Russia15,500
- California, U.S.500**
* Metric tons per year, average
**Commercial salmon fishery canceled in 2008
WSC staff and Russian partners in Kamchatka
Building Partnerships in Russia
WSC and Russian conservation scientists work together towards Kamchatka Regional Assessment
In December, WSC staff made a trip to Kamchatka, Russia to meet with partners regarding the Kamchatka Regional Assessment, a project that will look at the habitat condition of a subset of watersheds on Kamchatka. This project will provide a baseline data set for Kamchatka watersheds. This prototype for assessing/monitoring watershed habitat can then be applied to programs across the North Pacific.
Most notably, our staff met with key organizations that will be involved in the Kamchatka Krai Protected Area Development Plan. This included Olga Chernyagina from the Pacific Institute of Geography, Evgeniy Lobkov, Wild Fishes and Biodiversity Foundation and Aleftina Palataeva, Kamchatka Krai, Department of Environmental Protection. These organizations signed a three way agreement to facilitate the Protected Area development plan, an unprecedented event between government and private organizations on Kamchatka.
Rogue watershed in Oregon
Restoring Flow to a Key Salmon Stronghold
North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership invests in improving fish habitat and restoring flows to Deer Creek in Oregon
Deer Creek has been identified as one of the most important spawning and rearing tributaries for coho salmon in the Illinois River sub-basin and Rogue watershed in Oregon. The North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership approved funds for a restoration project along a two mile stretch of Deer Creek identified by Kevin O'Brien of the Illinois Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and Illinois Valley Watershed Council. Funding for liDAR remote sensing on Deer Creek will provide essential baseline data for project design. Phase One of restoration will help leverage additional public and private financial support for the project.
Through the collaborative efforts of over ten private and public partners, including Oxbow Ranch landowner Ellen Lovett, the project will eventually return 3.2cfs to the stream, reconnect floodplains, stabilize stream banks, and restore natural hydrological processes and critical off channel rearing and spawning habitat along two continuous stream miles of Deer Creek.