Salmon, Pink, Spring , humpback

Oncorhynchus gorbuscha

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — All applicable methods
Capture area — Pacific (FAO 67)
Stock area — Alaska
Stock detail

Southeast Alaska and Prince William Sound


Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and or FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Programme


Picture of Salmon, Pink, Spring , humpback

Sustainability rating one info

Sustainability overview

The Alaskan pink salmon fishery was recertified by the MSC in November 2013 as well-managed and sustainable. The most recent certification under the FAO-based RFM programme was in August 2013.

Biology

Pacific salmon occur from California north along the Pacific coast throughout the Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean waters adjacent to Alaska. The five species (Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink and Sockeye) are members of a large family of fish known as the Salmonidae, which are abundant throughout the temperate zones of the northern and southern hemispheres. Pacific salmon are a shorter lived species and much more prolific breeders than Atlantic salmon.
Pink salmon are the smallest of the Pacific salmon species with an average weight of 3.5 to 4 lbs (1.6 1.8 kg) and an average length of 20 25 inches (50 64 cms). Pink salmon have the shortest lifespan amongst the Pacific salmon, maturing and completing their life-cycle within two years, and have a rapid rate of growth. Although pinks are anadromous, they do not remain in freshwater for an extended period, and are also semelparous (typically die after spawning). Pinks spawn much closer to the ocean than most other Pacific salmon (usually within 30 miles of the river mouth). Females will lay 1200 to 1900 eggs between late June and early September, and the eggs hatch in late winter or early spring. Although pink salmon have low fecundity they produce large eggs which helps to ensure their resilience. As soon as they emerge from the gravel the fry migrate to the ocean and return to freshwater after 18 months to spawn.

Stock information

Stock Area

Alaska

Stock information

Pink salmon are not considered to be overfished (2013). The global population of pink salmon is not currently in danger and no stocks are listed under the USA’s Endangered Species Act, albeit some local populations in California and Washington State have decreased. It is the most abundant of the Pacific salmon species, although it’s abundance is difficult to forecast due to their highly variable mortality rate and their short stay in the ocean. Pinks are most abundant in Alaska which accounts for roughly half the global harvest. Threats include overfishing, and habitat loss or degradation, particularly in spawning grounds. Large scale hatchery programmes are in operation in Alaska (albeit limited in South east Alaska which is the most important area for pink salmon), and they release more pink salmon than any other Pacific salmon species (56%). These hatchery operations lead to concerns over the adverse impact of hatchery fish on wild stocks.

Management

Pink salmon are managed through a combination of various international, federal, tribal, and state actions. The North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission is an international organisation involved in managing Pacific salmon stocks, and comprises the USA, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation. The Pacific Salmon Commission is a treaty between Canada and the USA covering the management of the Pacific salmon. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is a US federal body that sets management plans for the 3 - 200 nm ocean zone, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) manages the Alaskan fresh water and the 0 - 3 nm zone based upon regulations set by the Alaskan Board of Fisheries. Management measures include the timing of fisheries, the size of gear, area and retention restrictions, and a limited entry programme. ADFG scientists monitor spawning escapement ie. the number of fish that escape the fishery and return to their natal stream, and adjust the fishery restrictions accordingly during the season.The Alaska Pacific salmon fisheries occur within US territorial waters adjacent to the coast of the State of Alaska, and are managed principally by ADFG staff. The Alaska state constitution, Article VIII, Section 4, requires the management, conservation and protection of the salmon resource and its habitat. Today, this constitutional requirement, coupled with effective management, has contributed to the healthy status of the salmon fisheries. In collaboration with ADFG, who is tasked with salmon conservation, the Alaska Board of Fisheries allocates salmon to the various gear users, following a well respected yearly cycle of public meetings throughout Alaska to actively engage stakeholders in the decision making processes. Following State constitution, management measures implemented include: establishing open and closed seasons, in season (realtime) management by virtue of Emergency Orders, setting quotas, bag limits, harvest limits (after escapement goals are reached), sex and size limitations, establishing the methods and means employed in the pursuit, capture and transport of fish, watershed and habitat improvement, management, conservation, protection, use, disposal, propagation and stocking of fish, regulating commercial, sport, guided sport, subsistence, and personal use fishing as needed for the conservation, development, and sustainable utilisation of fisheries. All wild salmon (pink, chum, coho, sockeye and Chinook) caught off Alaska is from fisheries certified to the FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Programme as responsibly managed for sustainable use. Yearly surveillance assessments validate and ensure that the fishery continues to be managed responsibly. The Alaskan pink salmon fishery was recertified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in November 2013 as well-managed and sustainable. The most recent certification under the FAO-based RFM programme was in August 2013.

Capture Information

Pink salmon are usually caught by purse seine netting and gillnets, with lesser numbers caught by troll gear (often as by-catch in other salmon fisheries). The gear used to harvest salmon has little or no direct impact on fish habitat, and there is minimal by-catch impact on other species. The primary by-catch from the pink fisheries are other salmon species in view of the fact that salmon school tightly and do not mix much with other species. Gillnets can cause high by-catch of seabirds and marine mammals.

References

Alaska Department of Fish and Game www.adfgalaka.gov/index.cfm?adfg=pinksalmon.main; ASMI Website: http://sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/fisheries; Fishbase www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=240&AT=puk+salmon; Fishchoice www.fishchoice.com/buying-guide/pink-salmon; Fishsource www.fishsource.com/fishery/identification?fishery=Pink+salmon+-+East+Pacific%3A=Alaska; Fishwatch www.fishwatch.gov/seafood_profiles/species/salmon/species_pages/pink_salmon.htm; Sustainable Fisheries Partnership www.sustainablefish.org/fisheries_improvement/salmon/salmn; http://cmsdevelopment.sustainablefish.org.s3.amazonaws.com/2014/12/04/Pacific_Salmon_SFP_Sector_Report_2014_dec01-ea8f0079.pdf