Illustration of Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Coho)

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Gillnet

Location

Washington North Pacific

Overall Rating

2.8 / 5

Summary

Salmon is one of the most economically important seafood species to the US. Washington provides a small fraction of the salmon on the market, and most is sold domestically.

Chinook coho and chum fisheries on the US west coast are supplemented by hatchery fish which intermingle with wild salmon stocks. Thus there are some uncertainties with regards to the abundance of the wild populations. Pink and sockeye salmon have limited hatchery contribution. The Chinook, coho, chum and sockeye populations of Washington North Pacific are healthy. The pink salmon in the Puget Sound are the most abundant salmon species in the area. Abundances have reached up to 10 million recently with very little contribution from hatcheries.

Management of the salmon populations has improved; especially with the listing of several stocks under the Endangered Species Act. Managing the wild salmon stocks of the US is complicated due to a combination of endangered species, natural populations, hatchery stocks, migratory fisheries, and multiple user groups. Considering the complexity of the fishery, management is reasonably effective especially concerning efforts to minimize bycatch of endangered salmon stocks.

Bycatch of endangered salmon occurs in several of the US West Coast fisheries. Stocks of concern include the west coast troll fisheries of Chinook and coho, as well as the Puget Sound sockeye caught by gillnet and seine. However, in the Washington North Pacific fisheries, the bycatch of endangered salmon is negligible.

The fishing gear used in salmon fisheries do not typically cause habitat damage as little contact is made with the ocean floor. Of concern is the lack of ecosystem-based management. Hatchery fish are allowed to spawn in rivers which could potentially lead to hybridization or competition with the wild population. Regulatory measures could improve around the management of hatchery fish.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Drift gillnet

Location

BC central coast, Transboundary Canada, Area D

Overall Rating

3.0 / 5

Summary

Commercial fishing for salmon in BC began in the late 1850’s. Globally, Pacific salmon production reaches 926,000 mt per year on average. British Columbia produced an average of 25,000 mt of wild Pacific salmon per year between 1999 and 2012. The majority of wild BC salmon is exported to the US, Japan, and Europe. The export value of wild Chinook in 2014 was $21 million. Coho salmon caught by unassociated purse seine from the north coast of BC comprises 11% of the total BC catch, and those caught by troll from the north coast represent 84% of the catch. Coho caught by drift gillnet from the central coast of BC represent 6% of the catch. Coho caught by drift gillnets from transboundary Canada represent 4% of the catch.

Transboundary River Chinook and Coho salmon stocks include the fish returning to the Taku, Stikine and Alsek Rivers in Northern BC and Alaska. Coho salmon stocks have consistently met management targets in 14 of the past 15 years, but were judged to have a moderate conservation concern because there are no formal escapement goals. Exploitation rates (all gear types) on North and Central Coast coho were reduced substantially during the 1998 “coho crisis”, when management changes were implemented in response to low coho returns. The BC AABM troll fisheries have not targeted coho in recent years although, they may be caught incidentally in AABM fisheries targeting Chinook. Abundances of North and Central Coho have increased in the 2000s and have fluctuated around this higher level for the past decade.

Pacific salmon stocks are managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the US-Canadian Pacific Salmon Commission, and First Nations. The DFO has developed two annual Integrated Fishery Management Plans (IFMPs): one for the northern stocks and one for the southern stocks. Transboundary stocks are jointly managed between Canada and the US with monitoring and evaluation programs. Wild coho abundance in Northern BC is not well documented, and there are no reference points (escapement goals).

Of some concern is the Taku River Chum salmon that are incidentally caught in these fisheries. Information on the status of Taku River chum stocks is lacking and these salmon runs have been depressed over the past two decades. The use of drift gillnets, unassociated purse seines and drift nets was deemed to be a very low concern as they are designed not to touch the bottom as gear may be lost or damaged when entangled on rocks.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Troll

Location

BC North Coast, West Vancouver Island

Overall Rating

3.1 / 5

Summary

Commercial fishing for salmon in BC began in the late 1850’s. Globally, Pacific salmon production reaches 926,000 mt per year on average. British Columbia produced an average of 25,000 mt of wild Pacific salmon per year between 1999 and 2012. The majority of wild BC salmon is exported to the US, Japan, and Europe. The export value of wild Chinook in 2014 was $21 million. Coho salmon caught by unassociated purse seine from the north coast of BC comprises 11% of the total BC catch, and those caught by troll from the north coast represent 84% of the catch. Coho caught by drift gillnet from the central coast of BC represent 6% of the catch. Coho caught by drift gillnets from transboundary Canada represent 4% of the catch.

Transboundary River Chinook and Coho salmon stocks include the fish returning to the Taku, Stikine and Alsek Rivers in Northern BC and Alaska. Coho salmon stocks have consistently met management targets in 14 of the past 15 years, but were judged to have a moderate conservation concern because there are no formal escapement goals. Exploitation rates (all gear types) on North and Central Coast coho were reduced substantially during the 1998 “coho crisis”, when management changes were implemented in response to low coho returns. The BC AABM troll fisheries have not targeted coho in recent years although, they may be caught incidentally in AABM fisheries targeting Chinook. Abundances of North and Central Coho have increased in the 2000s and have fluctuated around this higher level for the past decade.

 

Pacific salmon stocks are managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the US-Canadian Pacific Salmon Commission, and First Nations. The DFO has developed two annual Integrated Fishery Management Plans (IFMPs): one for the northern stocks and one for the southern stocks. Transboundary stocks are jointly managed between Canada and the US with monitoring and evaluation programs. Wild coho abundance in Northern BC is not well documented, and there are no reference points (escapement goals).

 

Of some concern is the Taku River Chum salmon that are incidentally caught in these fisheries. Information on the status of Taku River chum stocks is lacking and these salmon runs have been depressed over the past two decades. The use of drift gillnets, unassociated purse seines and drift nets was deemed to be a very low concern as they are designed not to touch the bottom as gear may be lost or damaged when entangled on rocks.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Unassociated purse seine

Location

BC North Coast

Overall Rating

3.1 / 5

Summary

Commercial fishing for salmon in BC began in the late 1850’s. Globally, Pacific salmon production reaches 926,000 mt per year on average. British Columbia produced an average of 25,000 mt of wild Pacific salmon per year between 1999 and 2012. The majority of wild BC salmon is exported to the US, Japan, and Europe. The export value of wild Chinook in 2014 was $21 million. Coho salmon caught by unassociated purse seine from the north coast of BC comprises 11% of the total BC catch, and those caught by troll from the north coast represent 84% of the catch. Coho caught by drift gillnet from the central coast of BC represent 6% of the catch. Coho caught by drift gillnets from transboundary Canada represent 4% of the catch.

Transboundary River Chinook and Coho salmon stocks include the fish returning to the Taku, Stikine and Alsek Rivers in Northern BC and Alaska. Coho salmon stocks have consistently met management targets in 14 of the past 15 years, but were judged to have a moderate conservation concern because there are no formal escapement goals. Exploitation rates (all gear types) on North and Central Coast coho were reduced substantially during the 1998 “coho crisis”, when management changes were implemented in response to low coho returns. The BC AABM troll fisheries have not targeted coho in recent years although, they may be caught incidentally in AABM fisheries targeting Chinook. Abundances of North and Central Coho have increased in the 2000s and have fluctuated around this higher level for the past decade.

 

Pacific salmon stocks are managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the US-Canadian Pacific Salmon Commission, and First Nations. The DFO has developed two annual Integrated Fishery Management Plans (IFMPs): one for the northern stocks and one for the southern stocks. Transboundary stocks are jointly managed between Canada and the US with monitoring and evaluation programs. Wild coho abundance in Northern BC is not well documented, and there are no reference points (escapement goals).

 

Of some concern is the Taku River Chum salmon that are incidentally caught in these fisheries. Information on the status of Taku River chum stocks is lacking and these salmon runs have been depressed over the past two decades. The use of drift gillnets, unassociated purse seines and drift nets was deemed to be a very low concern as they are designed not to touch the bottom as gear may be lost or damaged when entangled on rocks.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Coho salmon, sockeye salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch, O. nerka

Method

Farmed

Recirculating aquaculture system (RAS)

Location

Canada: BC, US

Overall Rating

6.7 / 10

Summary

Freshwater tank-based, closed containment coho farms are small in scale with only a few in existence but provide an alternative to open-net pen farms. Freshwater tank-based closed containment sockeye farms are very limited in number and emerged just within the last decade.

The impact of closed system farming is considered overall to be a low conservation concern to the marine environment. The ratio of wild fish in feed is lowered from other forms of salmon aquaculture due to the use of fish processing by-products and other alternatives to marine feed ingredients. The risk of escapes is low due to the effectiveness of barriers at water outlets. The risk of disease amplification and retransmission is also low because the farm uses groundwater that has little chance of coming in contact with wild fish diseases and effective effluent settling mitigates the possibility of pathogen transmission to wild stocks. Due to the effectiveness of effluent settling ponds and the location of the farm being adjacent to a non-ecologically sensitive wetland, where effluent can disperse before reaching rivers, the potential to impact nearby habitat is low.

Farmed coho and sockeye salmon have been bred to carry out their entire life cycle in freshwater eliminating the need to migrate to ocean waters to continue their growth phase. They are cultured from broodstock, raised in hatcheries, and then transferred to tanks to complete their growth. They can be stocked at higher densities than open net pen farms and have been selected for rapid growth making them ideal for aquaculture.

Management efforts for closed system coho and sockeye salmon farming is deemed highly effective. Compliance with existing federal, state/provincial, and local regulations is evident for siting, discharge, and exotics/diseases. Better management practices are in place, especially in terms of reducing escapes such as the use of barriers between grow-out tanks and final outflow pipes.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Alaska Salmon

Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Gillnet, Purse seine, Troll

Location

Alaska except Annette Islands Reserve, South East Alaska, and Yakutat

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Alaska Salmon

Summary

Coho, like other pacific salmon, require both freshwater and marine systems to complete life cycle. Over thousands of years of returning to their native streams to spawn, salmon have become reproductively isolated and genetically distinct from salmon in other river systems. Habitat degradation, changing ocean conditions and fishing pressure threaten many of these distinct groups of salmon, with populations disappearing entirely from some rivers.

Coho spend a year in freshwater before migrating to the ocean. They prefer small streams, ponds and sloughs and remain relatively close to the coast during their ocean phase. After almost two years at sea they return to their native stream to spawn and die. Coho are widespread throughout BC and Alaska, inhabiting many river systems. Several coho populations have showed significant declines with some at risk of local extinction.

In Alaska, salmon fisheries are managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. A major challenge in salmon fisheries management is the significant year-to-year variation in salmon run abundance. In both Canada and the US salmon fisheries managers establish pre-season estimates and then perform in-season assessments to determine catch limits. In both regions conservation is the primary objective in management plans; however, these objectives need to be balanced with the social and economic requirements of the various stakeholders, particularly obligations to Aboriginal people.

Coho Salmon harvesting is highly specific so bycatch is considered low compared to total catch. Commercial coho harvests mostly operate as mixed-stock fisheries which can capture coho from a variety of stocks. This poses a challenge to managing stocks that are of conservation concern.

Seine, Gillnet and troll fishing gear have minimal impact on marine habitats as they do not usually make contact with the seafloor. Removing salmon from the ocean and the decline of salmon returning to river systems may have significant ecosystem impacts. Marine and terrestrial mammals and birds rely on salmon for food and the forests adjacent to salmon bearing streams are closely linked to the nutrients from the salmon.

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

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Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Gillnet, Unassociated purse seine

Location

BC south coast

Overall Rating

2.4 - 2.6 / 5

Summary

Commercial fishing for salmon in BC began in the late 1850’s. Globally, Pacific salmon production reaches 926,000 mt per year on average. British Columbia produced an average of 25,000 mt of wild Pacific salmon per year between 1999 and 2012. The majority of wild BC salmon is exported to the US, Japan, and Europe. The export value of wild Chinook in 2014 was $21 million. Coho salmon caught in southern BC by purse seines and drift gillnets comprise 1% of BC’s total catch.

The amount of Chinook and Coho caught on the south coast is relatively insignificant in comparison to the North coast Coho fishery and the West Coast Vancouver Island Chinook fishery. Coho salmon abundance has declined during the past 20 years, particularly in southern BC. Abundance of all four major Coho stocks in southern BC has been very low in recent years compared with abundance in the 1980s. The Interior Fraser River Coho is considered endangered. The abundance factor for Coho is judged to be a high concern because Coho abundances are very low and insufficient to support directed fisheries.

Pacific salmon stocks are managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the US-Canadian Pacific Salmon Commission, and First Nations. The DFO has developed two annual Integrated Fishery Management Plans (IFMPs): one for the northern stocks and one for the southern stocks. Transboundary stocks are jointly managed between Canada and the US with monitoring and evaluation programs. Of significant concern is the bycatch of endangered coho salmon stocks from the US caught in the southern BC coho fishery. However, purse seines and drift gillnets do not make contact with the ocean floor and do not cause habitat damage.

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Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Gillnet, Purse seine, Troll

Location

US Washington, Oregon, California ** except WA North Pacific

Overall Rating

2.1 / 5

Summary

Global production of salmon reaches about 926,000 mt per year. Washington, California and Oregon are relatively small producers. An average of 12,986 mt were caught between 1998 and 2012 by these three states. Chinook salmon caught in the lower US comprise about half of the total North American catch.

Chinook coho and chum fisheries on the US west coast are supplemented by hatchery fish which intermingle with wild salmon stocks. Thus there are some uncertainties with regards to the abundance of the wild populations. Pink and sockeye salmon have limited hatchery contribution. Of special concern are the Puget Sound Chinook and Columbia coho fisheries which target hatchery fish but accidentally catch the natural-origin salmon which are listed as endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act.

Management of the salmon populations has improved; especially with the listing of several stocks under the Endangered Species Act. Managing the wild salmon stocks of the US is complicated due to a combination of endangered species, natural populations, hatchery stocks, migratory fisheries, and multiple user groups. Considering the complexity of the fishery, management is reasonably effective especially concerning efforts to minimize bycatch of endangered salmon stocks.

Bycatch of endangered salmon occurs in several of these fisheries. Stocks of concern include the west coast troll fisheries of Chinook and coho, as well as the Puget Sound sockeye caught by gillnet and seine. The fishing gear used in salmon fisheries do not typically cause habitat damage as little contact is made with the ocean floor. Of concern is the lack of ecosystem-based management. Hatchery fish are allowed to spawn in rivers which could potentially lead to hybridization or competition with the wild population. Regulatory measures could improve around the management of hatchery fish.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Farmed

Open net pen

Location

Chile

Overall Rating

3.8 / 10

Summary

Chile is the only region producing significant amounts of farmed coho salmon, with 120,000 mt produced in 2016. Chile produced approximately 490,000mt of farmed Atlantic salmon in 2016, and is the second largest producer of farmed salmon. Scientists and conservation organizations consider Chilean Patagonia as being one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world. The impact of effluents from salmon farms is not conclusive, although caution must be taken, given the high ecological importance of the area, the rapid expansion of the farms, their high production quantities and intensity, and limited study of salmon aquaculture in Chile. The lack of regulations regarding the cumulative impacts of multiple farms is of concern. Antibiotic use in Chile is extremely high. The grams of antibiotics used per tonne of salmon are 1,800 times that of Norway (the world’s largest salmon producer) despite producing less than half as much fish. Antibiotics that are both critical and highly important to human health are used in Chilean salmon farms. Antibiotic and pesticide use in Chile is a critical conservation concern.

 

Prior to a disastrous outbreak of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) in Chile in 2008-2011, scientific monitoring was limited. Since then, information availability has improved, and is generally good, although more data is needed concerning the industry’s expansion to southern regions of Chile that are pristine environments. Farmed Atlantic salmon in Chile are sourced from domestic stock, thereby putting no pressure on wild Atlantic salmon stocks.

 

About 1.92lbs and 1.56lb of wild fish product are required to produce 1lb of farmed Atlantic and coho salmon respectively. This is partly due to the increased use of non-edible land-animal byproduct and plant products which have improved the ratio in recent years. Escapes events have occurred on Chilean farms, although Atlantic salmon are thought to have limited survival in the wild, and no native populations exist in Chile. Disease and parasite outbreaks are a regular occurrence on Chilean salmon farms, and the industry has a history of Atlantic salmon collapse due to ISA. Although transmission to wild fish has not been observed, the location of the farms in pristine ecosystems warrants caution.

 

 

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Variety

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method

Wild

Pole, Troll

Location

BC: West Vancouver Island

Overall Rating

2.4 / 5

Summary

Commercial fishing for salmon in BC began in the late 1850’s. Globally, Pacific salmon production reaches 926,000 mt per year on average. British Columbia produced an average of 25,000 mt of wild Pacific salmon per year between 1999 and 2012. The majority of wild BC salmon is exported to the US, Japan, and Europe. The export value of wild Chinook in 2014 was $21 million. Coho salmon caught in southern BC by purse seines and drift gillnets comprise 1% of BC’s total catch.

Although the BC commercial troll fishery for Chinook and Coho is managed to limit harvest impacts on domestic stocks of concern such as WCVI Chinook and Interior Fraser River Coho, this fishery does also catch US salmon stocks which are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The lack of specific harvest limits for ESA-listed stocks was the main contributing factor in the low score for this fishery. This is because WCVI Coho are managed by Aggregate Abundance Based Management (AABM) which manages the salmon based on the overall abundance of these salmon present in the fishery rather than managed by the individual stocks or stock groups. Coho salmon stocks on the West Coast of Vancouver Island are of high concern and fishing pressure is of low concern. Coho salmon have life history characteristics that make them moderately vulnerable to fishing pressure.

Of significant concern is the bycatch of US salmon stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act which include the Puget Sound Chinook and Snake Riverfall Chinook. Troll/pole fishing gear does not make contact with the ocean floor and does not cause habitat damage.

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