BC Pink Salmon Fishery becomes MSC certified

The British Columbia pink salmon fishery was awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification in late July. This means the fishery’s operations have minimal environmental impact so that the marine ecosystems can continue to be sustainable and effectively managed. In addition, the gear and vessel technology are monitored to ensure codes of conduct are followed. The main criteria for MSC certification are: healthy stocks, limited harm to marine mammals and birds, and consistency over the duration of the certification.

BC pink salmon products can now bear the blue and white MSC certification label, and you, as a consumer can easily select a sustainable and local seafood resource.

Harvested for centuries, pink salmon is a part of the Northwest’s coastal seafood heritage.

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 percent 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. DFO’s 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. [Read more].

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