Certifier : 
Lloyds Register (Acoura)
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
02 Jul 2010
Certificate expires : 
30 Apr 2017


NOTE: This fishery is currently in re-assessment as part of the combined British Columbia salmon fishery

Most sockeye salmon in British Columbia and the Yukon spawn in late summer or fall in lake-fed river systems. Sockeye salmon return to their natal stream to spawn after spending one to four years in the ocean.

Once in the ocean, sockeye salmon grow quickly. While returning adults usually weigh 2-4kg,  weights of 8kg or more have been reported.

Environmental conditions in the ocean produce significant variations in the number of salmon that return to British Columbia’s rivers each year. The number of sockeye returning to the Fraser River in 2009, for instance, was the lowest since 1913, but the 2010 run turned out to be the largest.

The British Columbia sockeye salmon fishery has taken a number of steps to improve management in recent years. While previously 70-80% of fish in a salmon run were harvested, this rate has been reduced to 30-40%.

Since there can be such variation from year to year in the number of salmon, 'test fisheries' give regulators an idea of the composition and abundance of that year’s catch. This enables them to set catch limits and the timing of the fishing seasons for each gear type – troll, gillnet and seines – accordingly. It also helps protect the weaker populations, as sockeye stocks in some places are stronger than others.

"There was a very simple reason for seeking certification: we sell the same products into the same markets as Alaska. Once its salmon fishery was certified, we quickly found that our customers expected we would have the same certification."
- Christina Burridge, executive director, BC Seafood Alliance

British Columbia fishers landing sockeye © Canadian Fishing Co