Russian salmon fishery near MSC certification

Several wild salmon fisheries in Russia are nearing Marine Stewardship Council certification following a multi-year effort by industry representatives, government officials and scientists to improve their sustainability.

A draft certification report performed by MRAG Americas of pink, chum and coho salmon fisheries in Kamchatka, in Russia’s far east, recommended full MSC certification with seven conditions for continued improvement, according to a press release from Ocean Outcomes, an organization that supports ocean-based conservation projects. The report is now open for public comment through 5 August, 2016, after which MRAG Americas and MSC will make a final decision on whether to certify the fisheries.

“Our team has been on the ground working with these fisheries since 2008,” Ocean Outcomes founder and director of global programs Brian Caouette said. “We’ve seen them do the hard work it takes to improve the sustainability of these fisheries, and we are excited to see them enter this next step toward certification.”

Kamtchatka is the base of the world’s second largest haul of wild salmon after Alaska, and the fisheries studied in the assessment may catch up to 28,000 metric tonnes of salmon per season, according to Ocean Outcomes. Russian fishing companies Vityaz-Avto Ltd. and Delta Ltd. have led the sustainability certification effort on behalf of local industry and already achieved MSC certification for the Ozernaya sockeye fishery in 2012.

“MSC certification can be a critical step for their other salmon fisheries to improve their position in international markets,” Ocean Outcomes said in its release.

In its evaluation of the Kamchatka salmon fisheries, MRAG Americas’ scientists said increased monitoring, efforts to curb illegal fishing, and improvements of catch traceability contributed to the fishery scoring above 80 on all MSC core principles. Their recommendation to certify comes with the stipulation of seven conditions calling for continued monitoring and further improvements in fishery management.

"Sustainability is a growing worldwide phenomenon and we want to lead the way in Russia,” said Andrei Bokov, chief technologist for Vityaz-Avto and Delta. “Our companies expect MSC certification will open up new market opportunities for us and help us bring in higher value for our seafood products."

The full draft certification report and guidelines for comments can be found on the MSC website. MRAG Americas is expected to make a final certification determination in September of this year, according to Ocean Outcomes.


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