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Ocean Wise Takes the Guesswork out of British Columbia Salmon with their Salmon Advisory Panel

(Vancouver, B.C) – Ocean Wise establishes the Salmon Advisory Panel to address the challenge of identifying sustainable salmon options in British Columbia. Comprised of leading experts on B.C. salmon with diverse backgrounds, the Salmon Advisory Panel’s unique knowledge and guidance combined with Ocean Wise’s Rapid Assessment Standard is a huge step towards more Ocean Wise Recommendations for locally sourced salmon.  

Until now, it has been extremely difficult to identify guilt-free salmon options on Canada’s West Coast, due to the fluctuating nature of B.C. salmon populations. A nimble assessment process is necessary to effectively perform yearly assessments of B.C.’s salmon fisheries and the Salmon Advisory Panel will help Ocean Wise’s Recommendation process both respond to and incorporate real-time data collected at the fishery level.  

Members of Ocean Wise’s Salmon Advisory Panel include:

Angela Addison – North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society

Dave Moore – Authentic Indigenous Seafoods Co-operative

Greg Taylor – Watershed Watch Society

Dr. Eric Hertz – Pacific Salmon Foundation

Dr. Scott Hinch – University of British Columbia

Andy Olson – Nuu-Chah-Nulth Seafood LP

How Does the Panel Work?

“The Ocean Wise Rapid Assessment Standard is nimble enough to adapt to the annual variations of Pacific salmon in a way that compliments other systems that look at longer-term population trends. Many Indigenous communities can see the importance of evaluating sustainability of Pacific salmon in this way because it regularly considers both salmon abundance and diversity, thereby preserving the tapestry of environment, culture, and economy that is central to all salmon ecosystems as well as those that depend upon them.” – Dave Moore, Authentic Indigenous Seafoods Co-operative

The Salmon Advisory Panel will combine the best available science with their expert knowledge to assess the status of B.C. commercial salmon fisheries across all five Pacific Salmon species. Panel members will have the ability to adjust the scores of salmon fisheries, either up or down, based on real-time information often missed in high-level fishery assessments, such how a specific gear type is being used or conservation measures integrated into fishing practices.

All sustainable salmon recommendations will be the result of scoring through the Rapid Assessment Standard with guidance and input from panel members, derived through collaborative discussions and data analysis.

Selection of Panel Members:

“To optimize the panel’s impact, it’s imperative to incorporate a spectrum of industry perspectives. Given the multifaceted nature of factors influencing BC Salmon sustainability, a nuanced assessment from various angles is essential for individual fisheries.” – Mike McDermid, Ocean Wise Director of Fisheries & Seafood

Ocean Wise’s Salmon Advisory Panel includes experts spanning various aspects of the fisheries and seafood space. The diversity of the panel ensures a holistic and inclusive approach to addressing the multifaceted challenges of B.C. Salmon sustainability.

Ocean Wise

Ocean Wise is a globally focused conservation organization on a mission to restore and protect our ocean. Through research, education, public engagement, and international collaborations, we empower communities to fight three major ocean challenges: ocean pollution, overfishing and climate change. By equipping and empowering individuals, communities, industries, and governments, we can create a future where people and our oceans can thrive. Ocean Wise is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia with staff across Canada and Chile, and operates conservation projects that make national and international impact.  

For all media inquiries please contact:

Kim Bricker

Communications Specialist

604 659 3812

[email protected]

Additional Information About the Salmon Advisory Panel

What Makes B.C Salmon Fisheries So Difficult to Assess?

Assessing the sustainability of B.C. Salmon fisheries is difficult for a few reasons.

The status of B.C. Salmon populations tends to vary from year to year. While standard seafood assessments take roughly a year to complete and stand for up to five years after the fact. This method clearly does not align with the annual fluctuations of B.C’s salmon populations.

No two salmon fisheries are the same. Many B.C. Salmon fisheries are mixed stock fisheries, meaning they may harvest different salmon populations and species at the same time. This is because B.C.’s vast expanse of unique river systems are often home to many different salmon runs. Evaluation at the fishery level is essential to accurately assess which populations are being fished and the impact the fishery is having on a specific ecosystem, which has been difficult to achieve historically.

Data limitations and impacts associated with climate change also create serious challenges to the assessment of BC salmon that require a more nimble, hands-on approach.

How Will the Salmon Advisory Panel Address These Difficulties?

To properly assess B.C.’s Salmon fisheries, we need a methodology that is fast, nimble, and able to evaluate individual fisheries at the ecosystem level.

Ocean Wise’s Salmon Advisory Panel is made up of experts in B.C. Salmon from a variety of backgrounds. These experts have the knowledge and resources to combine the ratings produced by Ocean Wise’s Rapid Assessment Standard and adjust them (either up or down) based on real-time realities for individual salmon fisheries.

Why Has Ocean Wise Had Limited Recommendations for Salmon in the Past?

Ocean Wise is committed to helping businesses and consumers access the most sustainable seafood available to combat overfishing for a healthy and thriving ocean. All Ocean Wise Recommendations are based on the most thorough and up-to-date information available. Therefore, the lack of current data for B.C. Salmon coupled with annual fluctuations in population status, has made it incredibly difficult to generate accurate sustainability ratings.

Why is it Important for Ocean Wise to have B.C. Salmon Recommendations?

Salmon is one of the most popular seafoods on the West Coast, with both economic and cultural significance for many coastal communities. In the absence of eco-labels, sustainably sourced salmon and overfished salmon are indistinguishable to buyers.

By identifying sustainable options, we can give people the tools they need to make ocean-friendly choices when it comes to their salmon. 

Will Ocean Wise’s Recommendation of Salmon Hurt these
Critical Species?

The goal behind these Recommendations isn’t just to have Recommendations for BC Salmon. It’s to help connect people buying salmon to an ocean-friendly option and encourage consumers to support local fisheries operating sustainably. To do this, we need a process to both identify these sustainable options and make them easy to identify for businesses and consumers. Ocean Wise will only Recommend B.C. Salmon from fisheries with effective management plans in place and minimal ecosystem impacts. 

Posted March 13, 2024 by Kim Bricker

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