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Three British Columbia Chum Salmon Fisheries Awarded MSC Certification

09 January 2013

CANADA - Canada’s supply of MSC certified seafood into the global market took a major step forward today when three British Columbia chum salmon fisheries (Oncorhynchus keta) were awarded Marine Stewardship Council certification as sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

The Inner South Coast, West Coast Vancouver Island and Fraser River chum salmon fisheries received MSC certification following an independent, third-party, rigorous scientific assessment that was conducted by Intertek Moody Marine (IMM). A fourth unit of certification, the North/Central Coast fishery, is still in assessment.

With the announcement, fisheries harvesting Canada’s main commercial species of salmon, chum, pink, and sockeye, are now certified to the MSC standard as sustainable and well-managed fisheries. Commercial harvesters for chum salmon use seine, gillnet, troll, beach seine, fish wheels, weirs and dipnets. In 2012 the three units of certification amounted to about 3,000 MT destined for buyers worldwide, about three quarters of the total BC chum harvest.

Christina Burridge, representing the Canadian Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Society (CPSFS), which entered the fisheries into assessment, said: “With chum fisheries closing for the year in early December 2012, we are pleased that harvest is covered under the certificate and delighted to offer these fish to our customers with the MSC certification so important to them. We look forward to adding the North Coast and Central Coast fishery in the months ahead.”

Kerry Coughlin, Americas regional director, said: “MSC certification of these salmon fisheries underscores Canada’s commitment to sustainable seafood. The Canadian Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Society represents virtually all the buyers of Canadian wild salmon and we welcome the addition of the chum salmon fisheries into the MSC program and the global certified supply chain.”

The chum salmon fisheries are managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), which regulates management and oversees Canada’s sustainable fishery policies, including setting the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), gear requirements and season openings. In Canada, salmon landings are verified through a combination of landing site monitoring, log books, sales slips and random audits.

Certification includes improvement actions that will better define harvest control rules and ongoing monitoring of stock status to help inform Canadian regulatory officials as they make management decisions about the fisheries both in season and for the long term in the future.

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