sockeye salmon (O. nerka), pink salmon (O. gorbuscha), chum salmon (O. keta), coho salmon (O. kisutch), Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha)
Regional Fishery Information
Volume – 61,600 mt (2002-2011 average)
Gear – coastal trap nets, beach seines
Location – Russian Far East, western coast of the Kamchatka peninsula. UN FAO major fishing area 61: Pacific, Northwest
Markets – Kamchatka pink, chum, coho and Chinook primarily stay in the Russian domestic market. However, Kamchatka sockeye has traditionally been exported to Japan with increasing proportions going to N American and European markets in recent years
Ocean Outcomes, Federal Agency for Fisheries; Regional (Kamchatka) Fisheries Research Institute, KamchatNIRO; Regional (Russian Far East) Fisheries Research Institute, TINRO-Center; Regional division of Federal Agency for Fisheries, SVTU; All-Russia Fisheries Research Institute, VINRO; WWF Russia; WSC, Kamchatka Fish Fund
Qualifying Producers and Sub-Regions
The Kamchatka Regional Salmon FIP serves as an umbrella FIP to foster fishery improvements across the whole region and also as a recruitment mechanism to engage fisheries region-wide. While our ultimate goal is to engage and encourage as many salmon producers as possible to make improvements, not all producers are considered qualified. In order to become a qualified participant, we request that potential participants sign a FIP contract or multi-party FIP agreement. Producers currently qualified under the Kamchatka Regional Salmon FIP can be found below:
Stalled FIPs (Currently Non-Qualifying)
Pink, chum, sockeye, coho and Chinook salmon are all commercially important species in western Kamchatka, although wild Chinook stocks are considered depleted and the commercial Chinook fishery has been closed/restricted in specific areas. The Ozernaya River sockeye salmon fishery was MSC certified in August 2012 following a pre-assessment conducted in August 2010. Ozernaya River sockeye are especially well-monitored and have been studied for over 80 years since the Pacific Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography was established at Kuril Lake in 1932.
In 2009, the Kamchatka fishery management system was changed to an “Olympic system” where a single quota is allocated for all leaseholders in a specific area. This quota can be adjusted relatively quickly in response to in-season salmon run information but may lead to increased conflicts among fishing companies. Fishing parcels are leased to fishing companies for 20-year periods, increasing incentives to harvest salmon at sustainable rates and reducing incentives to under-report or misreport commercial catches. Different river basins may have different fishery concerns that need to be addressed in individual action plans. For example, the Bolshaya River is the most accessible river on the western coast and has more hatchery production and poaching activity than other systems.
Highlights and Key Issues
- Catch, escapement and hatchery release information is generally not publicly available at the area level. This information is needed to assess the fishery.
- Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is a major problem. A review of recent trade data shows that there can be significant variance (up to 25%) between reported exports compared with reported imports of Russian salmon to other countries (Knapp and Tanaka 2013). This may be due to IUU fisheries although weaknesses in trade data reporting may also play a role.
- Several papers in the scientific literature have described negative interactions between hatchery and wild salmon on Kamchatka. Additional studies are ongoing but actions to reduce or eliminate these interactions have not been implemented.
- Chinook salmon populations are currently depleted and Kamchatka steelhead are red-listed (endangered).
- Small populations of masu salmon exist in western Kamchatka but little stock status information is available.
- The fishery and its management system are subject to internal review, but fishery information (including a research plan) is not regularly made available, limiting opportunities for external review.
- Long term objectives for the management system and short term objectives for the fishery are not explicit.
- The Olympic fishing management system is relatively new and its effectiveness has not been fully assessed.
Actions for Improving Fishery Sustainability
Several FIP activities will likely need to be implemented by FIP participants to ensure the fishery is in compliance with minimum MSC benchmarks. Examples of these activities include:
- Assembling available information on escapement goals and actual spawning escapements, hatchery releases, and fishery catches for target stocks.
- Providing information on all fishery catches of the target stocks; including interceptions by other fisheries (including the high seas net fishery) and illegal harvests, to improve stock status information.
- Describing and providing justification for escapement goals used for each target species.
- Developing appropriate actions to reduce or eliminate negative interactions between hatchery and wild salmon populations.
- Assembling fishery catch and stock status information on retained species such as Chinook and masu salmon.
- Monitoring fishery impacts on protected species, especially Kamchatka steelhead and marine mammals.
- Improving regulation compliance, enforcement, and verification programs by working with local communities, organizing anti-poaching brigades, and using third-party verifications to independently monitor compliance.
- Establishing a more formal fishery client consortium to manage the FIP activities and related certification efforts and represent interests of regional participants.
- Establishing traceability (for example through additional MSC CoC assessments) to prevent IUU fisheries from entering the sustainable supply chain and to ensure chain of custody for companies that want to source from FIP fisheries.
- Informing local stakeholders and watershed councils about the fishery improvement process and providing opportunities for them to offer input.
- Creating a website for sharing fishery information and research results.
- An Independent Observer Program was established to monitor bycatch and legality within fisheries. In its fourth year, this program was expanded to cover four separate Russian salmon fisheries.
- Two processing facilities on the Ozernaya River created a traceability program to separate and trace sustainable product. As a result, the facilities received MSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certifications; the first CoC certifications on Kamchatka.
- All commercial fishing for Chinook on the Bolshaya River was suspended in order to implement a recovery process.
Ocean Outcomes Contact
Denis Semenov, Director, Kamchatka Fish Fund +7-962-281-7227 or +7-914-787-1991
Gunnar Knapp and Chloe Tanaka, Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage. 2013. Graphs of Selected Trade Data for Russian Salmon Exports and Chine Salmon Imports. Presentation prepared for the Wild Salmon Center.