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Bristol Bay

Last Update: 11/1/2013
For current sustainability information on this fishery visit the Marine Stewardship Council website.
Start Date: 
01/1999
Sustainability ProgressAction Progress
Gear: 
Certification Status: 
Volume: 
> 50k

Volume data of 70,087 metric tons is the annual average catch from 2002 – 2011 according to NPAFC.

For current sustainability information on this fishery visit the Marine Stewardship Council website.

The Alaska salmon fisheries were some of the earliest fisheries to receive MSC certification, being first certified in December 2000. Since then, the fisheries were re-certified in October 2007 and again in November 2013.  Four conservation groups filed an objection to the most recent certification effort, citing insufficient evaluation of harvest rates on depleted, non-Alaskan salmon stocks intercepted in Southeast Alaska fisheries. However, an independent adjudicator dismissed the objection. The Units of Certification (UoCs; sub-components of the fishery that are individually evaluated) have varied among assessments, with the most recent assessment defining 14 units based on geographic area. Thirteen of the units were scored to pass certification, but the Prince William Sound (PWS) UoC is still under assessment, likely due to issues regarding hatchery production and the potential impacts on local wild stocks. Indeed, one of the most important fishery concerns is the accelerating release of hatchery pink and chum in Kodiak, PWS and Southeast Alaska (SEAK). Another issue is that some fisheries may affect stocks with low abundances that are designated as ‘stocks of concern,’ which are specified as ‘yield concern’ (escapement goals met but expected yields not met) or ‘management concern’ (escapement goals not met). Although the Alaska salmon fisheries benefit from the availability of high quality spawning habitat and a management system that closely monitors catches and escapements, there are still improvements to be made.

The Bristol Bay fishery is located in western Alaska.  The region is relatively pristine but is threatened with potential development of a massive minerals mine (Pebble Mine).  Sockeye comprise most of the catch, but commercial fishermen also harvest Chinook, chum, pink, and coho salmon. Bristol Bay supports the most valuable commercial salmon fishery in the world.  Some Bristol Bay sockeye salmon are harvested in the Alaska Peninsula fishery.

The Bristol Bay fishery is managed to achieve spawning escapement goals.  There are 5 goals for Chinook, 9 for sockeye, and 1 for chum salmon.  From 2002 to 2012, escapement goals were usually met for sockeye, Chinook, and chum salmon stocks.  Currently, there are no stocks of concern in Bristol Bay.  The Kvichak sockeye stock, which was once the largest sockeye stock in the world, was de-listed as a stock of concern in 2013 because productivity and abundance has rebounded in recent years.  No hatchery production occurs in the area.

Stakeholders:

Purse Seine Vessels Owners Association (PSVOA; fishery client), Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Wild Salmon Center, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, David Suzuki Foundation, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, Wild Fish Conservancy, American Bird Conservancy, Sustainable Fisheries Partnerships, Pacific Salmon Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Ecotrust, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Native Corporations involved in Alaska salmon fisheries:

Arctic Slope Native Association, Bering Straits Association, Northwest Alaska Native Association, Association of Village Council Presidents, Tanana Chiefs’ Conference, Cook Inlet Association, Bristol Bay Native Association, Aleut League, Chugach Native Association, Tlingit-Haida Central Council, Kodiak Area Native Association, Copper River Native Association

Assessment
November, 2013

The 2013 Public Certification Report for the Alaska salmon fisheries was released on November 12, 2013. No conditions (fishery improvement targets) were placed on the Bristol Bay salmon fishery. 

An Action Plan outlining timelines and activities that would be taken to address conditions was written by the Client, approved by the assessment team, and included in the assessment report. As no conditions were placed on the Bristol Bay UoC, it was not included in the Action Plan.

Update
November, 2013

The Alaska salmon fisheries were re-certified for a second time in November 2013, and the first surveillance audit will take place in 2014.

2013 Assessment - Log in or register to access this file.
2013 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.
Contacts: 
Intertek Moody Marine
Purse Seine Vessel Owners’ Association
Contact us if you have information regarding this fishery improvement project.