Fraser River Sockeye
Volume of 3,757 metric tons is the average catch volume from 1996-2012 for fishing area 29. Data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada preliminary summary commercial statistics.
The British Columbia (BC) sockeye salmon fisheries underwent a pre-assessment in 2000 and began the full MSC assessment process in 2001, which took more than nine years to complete. The BC sockeye salmon fishery consists of four Units of Certification (UoCs): Skeena, Nass, Barkley Sound, and Fraser River. A final assessment report certifying all four UoCs was published on January 18, 2010, but two groups subsequently filed objections. The Gitksan Watershed Authorities expressed a concern that their participation in the assessment process was impaired, but they eventually withdrew the objection. The second group included several non-profit organizations (Watershed Watch Salmon Society, David Suzuki Foundation, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust) that objected to certification of the Fraser UoC, stating that scoring for the UoC was not performed in a rigorous manner and was partially based on unsubstantiated claims. However, an independent adjudicator dismissed all objections on April 22, 2010, and all four UoCs were officially certified in a July 28, 2010 public certification report.
Fishing takes place in both marine and freshwater environments, as Non-First Nation Commercial fisheries, First Nation Excess Salmon to Spawning Requirement fisheries, and First Nation Economic Opportunity fisheries were included in the certification process. Fishing takes place within the Canadian Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone and the coastal waters of British Columbia, with most of the commercial harvest being caught by purse seines, gill nets, and trollers. Fish are harvested from mid-June to mid-September, and catches are sold worldwide. The fisheries are managed by Canada’s Department of Fish and Oceans (DFO), and the client is the Canadian Pacific Sustainability Fisheries Society, a group of salmon harvesting and processing companies.
DFO has invested some effort into improving fisheries management, publishing Canada’s Policy for the Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon (also known as the Wild Salmon Policy or WSP) in 2005. The WSP aims to restore and maintain healthy, diverse salmon populations and habitats. Stock units have been defined as part of the WSP and are termed Conservation Units (CUs), where each CU includes salmon with similar ecological, life history, and genetic characteristics. However, many of the other goals in the WSP have not been implemented, due in part to resource constraints. As one example, lower and upper benchmarks (analogous to limit and target reference points) for guiding harvest rates have not yet been established. Having clearly defined objectives for harvest and stock recovery will be especially important given the declines in abundance observed for some stocks in recent years.
Canadian Pacific Sustainability Fisheries Society, BC Salmon Marketing Council, DFO, David Suzuki Foundation, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Ocean Fisheries Ltd, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance, BC Aboriginal Fisheries Commission, Nisga’a Nation, Gitksan Nation, Stó:lō Nation, Cowichan Nation, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Lheidli T’enneh Nation, Secwepemc Fisheries Commission (Shuswap Nation Tribal Council), Pacific Salmon Commission, Sierra Club BC, Golder, Levy Research
Other First Nations that are participants in the certified fisheries:
Lax Kw’alaams Nation, Gitanyow Nation, Metlakatla Nation, Kitkatla Nation, Kitsumkalum Nation, Kitselas Nation, Wet’suwet’en Nation, Lake Babine Nation, Takla Lake Nation, Yekooche Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, Maa-nulth Treaty Nations, Tsu-ma-uss Nations, Tsawwassen Nation
The site visit for the fourth annual surveillance audit is tentatively scheduled for October 2014.
The audit team conducted the third annual surveillance site visit October 7-11, 2013 and published the surveillance report on January 20, 2014. Across all units of certification, 34 conditions were closed (completed), and 11 remained open and behind schedule. For the Fraser unit, 12 conditions were closed and 6 were open and behind schedule.
The audit team conducted the second annual surveillance site visit May 14-18, 2012 and published the surveillance report on August 17, 2012. Across all units of certification, 18 conditions were closed (completed), and 27 remained open and were determined to be behind schedule. For the Fraser unit, 5 conditions were closed and 13 were behind schedule.
The audit team conducted the first annual audit site visit May 9-13, 2011 and published the surveillance report on November 15, 2011. Across all units of certification, 9 conditions were closed (completed), and 36 remained open and on track. For the Fraser unit, 5 conditions were closed and 13 were on track.
A pre-assessment of the British Columbia commercial salmon fisheries was conducted by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) in April 2001. The BC sockeye fisheries entered the full MSC assessment process in 2001. SCS was hired to perform the assessment, but they were dropped by the Client in 2008. TAVEL Certification (later purchased by Moody Marine Limited) was hired to complete the assessment in a more expedited manner, and they released the Public Certification Report on July 28, 2010.