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Iturup Island

Last Update: 12/1/2013
For current sustainability information on this fishery visit the Marine Stewardship Council website.
Start Date: 
04/2008
Sustainability ProgressAction Progress
Certification Status: 
Volume: 
21-50k

Volume data of 24,383 metric tons is the average annual harvest from 2002 - 2011 for JSC Gidrostroy. The average "Recent total harvest in combined Iturup fisheries" is 47,000 metric tons according to the 2009 MSC public certification report.

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

The Iturup Island pink and chum salmon fishery was certified by MSC in September 2009. The 125-mile (201-km) long island is located near the southern end of the Kuril Island chain controlled by Russia. The unit of certification includes the northeastern portion of Iturup Island fished by the client fishing company J.S.C. Gidrostroy. The fishery targets pink salmon from mid-July to September and chum salmon from September to November using stationary fish traps set along the coastline. Wild and hatchery pink and chum salmon are caught, processed and exported to Russian, Chinese, South Korean and Japanese markets. Products are then redistributed in North America and Europe.

The fishery is managed for escapement levels that are based on standard spawning densities, which generally provides for adequate numbers of adults to spawn and perpetuates future returns. However it is unclear whether wild chum salmon escapement targets are consistently met. In addition, a key uncertainty regarding the status of Iturup salmon is whether wild population diversity and productivity is adequately maintained in the face of high annual exploitation rates of the heavily-enhanced (hatchery) stocks. Of particular concern is the impact of the fishery and hatchery programs on two rare lake spawning chum salmon populations on the island, and a 2011 scientific paper funded by J.S.C. Gidrostroy concluded that hatchery chum salmon were genetically “swamping” one of the lake spawning populations. Gidrostroy has built and started operating two new hatcheries since the fishery was certified. Although these hatcheries were built away from significant wild salmon populations (something unique in the Russian Far East), the effect of these programs on wild stocks has not been evaluated. Ongoing hatchery marking and sampling programs are just beginning to provide critical information on the impacts of the expanding hatchery programs on local wild chum and pink salmon populations. 

Stakeholders:

J.S.C. Gidrostroy (fishery client), Sakhalin Regional Fisheries Association, Sakhalin Salmon Initiative, Sakhalin Environment Watch, SakhNIRO, SakRybVod, Sakhalin-Kuril Regional Fisheries Management (SKTU), Wild Salmon Center, WWF Russia

Annual Review
December, 2013

The audit team conducted site visits for the fourth annual surveillance in Sakhalin and Iturup Island in July and August, 2013. At the close of this audit, seven conditions were closed (completed), and one remained open and on schedule. Some concerns about the fishery have not yet been fully addressed and will be subject to continued monitoring and mitigation:

Update
November, 2013

An annual site visit was conducted in July and August 2013, and the fourth audit was released on November 12, 2013. An MSC re-assessment of the fishery was initiated on June 6, 2013 and is anticipated to be completed prior to expiration of the current certificate on September 8, 2014. A site visit for the re-assessment was conducted in conjunction with the fourth surveillance audit in July and August 2013. A Public Comment Draft Report is currently scheduled to be available for review and comment in February 2014.

Annual Review
December, 2012

The audit team conducted the third annual surveillance site visit in Sakhalin during December 2012. Since the fishery was certified, J.S.C. Gidrostroy built and started operating two new chum salmon hatcheries. Notably, the two new hatcheries are located away from major salmon producing streams with the intent of targeting harvest on returning hatchery fish and reducing harvest on nearby wild populations. This strategy is widely used in Alaska but to our knowledge this is the first time it has been used in Russia.

Annual Review
April, 2012

Annual Review
January, 2011

Assessment
September, 2009

The 2009 MSC Public Certification Report identified three issues in the assessment that required special attention:

2009 Assessment - Log in or register to access this file.
2013 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.
2012 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.
2011 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.
2010 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.
2009 Action Plan - Log in or register to access this file.
2013 Annual Review - Log in or register to access this file.
2012 Annual Review - Log in or register to access this file.
2011 Annual Review - Log in or register to access this file.
2010 Annual Review - Log in or register to access this file.
Contacts: 
Polar Bear Enterprise, LLC
Scientific Certification Systems
Contact us if you have information regarding this fishery improvement project.