Where We Work
Salmon are a symbol, a treasure and hope for the people of Sakhalin Island.
Sakhalin Island, only the size of Massachusetts, is home to 11 salmon species and is the third most abundant salmon region in the world after Alaska and Kamchatka. Its rich marine and freshwater ecosystems support some of the Pacific Rim's rarest and most commercially valuable populations of salmon, including the critically endangered taimen. Fishing is the second largest industry on the island, supplying 20% of global Pacific salmon catch and generating $500 million in personal income annually.
Sakhalin Island is more populated than many remote regions of the Russian Far East and also supports a large oil industry. Expansion of oil and coal development and related infrastructure, in addition to large-scale poaching, are endangering sensitive salmon ecosystems. The Wild Salmon Center is working to identify and safeguard priority salmon strongholds to ensure a balanced approach to conservation and development on Sakhalin.
Sakhalin Salmon Initiative
The Sakhalin Salmon Initiative is a collaborative effort to promote conservation and sustainable use of wild salmon and the ecosystems upon which they depend, to build institutional capacity for conservation and to promote sustainable economic development on Sakhalin Island. It is managed by the Sakhalin-based SSI Center and overseen by the SSI Coordinating Committee, a partnership of 23 organizations that operate locally, including, the Sakhalin Oblast Administration, Wild Salmon Center, regional and federal agencies, academic institutions, business enterprises, commercial fishermen, indigenous communities and other local and international NGOs. Sakhalin Energy is a founding sponsor of the SSI. For its pioneering efforts in promoting sustainable development, SSI was named "Best Program" in the prestigious Corporate Donor of Russia Awards.
SSI has brought together a broad and diverse array of stakeholders to leverage resources toward wild salmon conservation. Priority salmon-producing river systems were identified through vigorous scientific assessment, and are now the focus of efforts to combat poaching, restore spawning areas, and obtain permanent legal protection. Wild Salmon Center helped partners on Sakhalin Island in their efforts to re-establish the 166,000 acre Vostochny Refuge, which protects two entire ocean-draining river basins, the Vengeri and Pursh-Pursh rivers, and some of the last intact whole forests on Sakhalin Island.
Building conservation capacity
We are building conservation capacity on Sakhalin through a network of public salmon councils. They are leading efforts on anti-poaching, stream restoration and monitoring, public education, and involving communities in watershed management. SSI's education and public outreach program continues to build durable local support for salmon conservation summer camps, festivals, and other events. Over forty regional schools have adopted "Salmon Watch" curriculum. The Sakhalin Salmon Park on the Lutoga River will provide field trip facilities and educational activities focused on salmon and watershed conservation.
Promoting sustainable fisheries
Wild salmon fisheries, one of the region's two leading industries, are the foundation of Sakhalin's socioeconomic and ecological welfare. Since the first Russian fishery achieved Marine Stewardship Council eco-label status in 2009, there has been growing interest among Sakhalin commercial fishing companies to implement environmentally responsible fishing practices. Demonstrating their commitment to these practices will enable Sakhalin companies to access new markets and reap increased economic benefits. These companies also partner with SSI to prevent poaching, protect habitat, and monitor development impacts on salmon fisheries.
More About SSI
SSI is also supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, USDA Forest Service, Turner Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and other international foundations and private donors.