Iturup Island pink and chum salmon
Certified as sustainable on the 10th September 2009.
Species: Pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and Chum (Oncorhynchus keta) salmon
Location: Iturup Island, Russia. The units of certification includes a total of 18 significant rivers and streams with anadromous fish populations. The four largest rivers are: Kuriljka river, Reidovaya river, Rybatskaya river and Olya river.
Fishing methods: Coastal stationary fish traps
Number of fisheries: 2
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More about pink and chum salmon
Pink salmon are the most abundant of the Pacific salmon and are found throughout the north Pacific. The Iturup Island pink salmon return currently averages 18 million fish per year and has varied from 6 to 32 million.Annual fry-adult survival of Iturup pink salmon is typically 2-10% and is among the highest in the Russian Far East. Ocean productivity and temperatures are reported to be particularly favorable for juvenile pink salmon along the Okhotsk sea side of Iturup Island due to a convergence of warm and cold currents Iturup Island’s rivers, as a rule only freeze during periods of low discharge, whereas other rivers in the region are almost completed covered with ice during the winter.
Pink salmon spawn in almost all water bodies of Iturup Island, except for those with acidic water and streams ending in waterfalls. Pink salmon typically spawn in small to moderate-sized streams within a few miles of the sea or and in the intertidal zone at the mouths of streams. The pink salmon is the smallest of the Pacific salmon. Iturup pink salmon typically average about 1.5 kg and 50 cm. Pink salmon mature at two years of age which means that odd-year and even-year populations are essentially unrelated. Pink salmon return to Iturup Island to spawn from July until October but returns and harvest typically peak in August.
Chum salmon have the widest distribution of any of the Pacific salmon. They range south to the Sacramento River in California and the island of Kyushu in the Sea of Japan. In the north they range east in the Arctic Ocean to the Mackenzie River in Canada and west to the Lena River in Siberia. On Iturup Island, chum are much less abundant than pink salmon and populations are generally restricted to the larger systems. Ten chum populations are identified within the certification area.
Historical natural populations of chum salmon on Iturup Island were relatively small but numbers have been building island-wide over the last decade. This increase has been attributed to the combined effects of reduced high-seas harvest and enhancement activities.
Asian chum include summer and fall runs. Iturup chum are a fall run which return in October and November.Chum salmon typically mature at 2 to 5 years of age (primarily at 4 years of age), although there
is considerable variation among regions. Chum vary in size from 4 to over 30 pounds, but generally range from 7 to 18 pounds, with females usually smaller than males.
More about the fishing methods
Fishing by Gidrostroy currently takes place using stationary fish traps set along the coastline and in the bays near the mouths of the rivers. The fishery targets pink salmon from mid-July to September and chum salmon in September and November.
The catch is delivered to local on-shore processing facilities.
Fish caught in trap nets attached to the shoreline with net leads, which are tied to shore by leads, called central wings. These wings usually have a line length from 200-600 meters. They, together with wings joined to them funnel fish into large net pens. These traps are constructed of 30 mm web mesh size for pinks and 38 mm for chum. The wing is hung of web of a brighter color, which is a visual (not physical) barrier for the species being harvested. The mesh size is selected to avoid gilling fish that are 75 mm to 100 mm in size for both species.
Fish are collected from trap boxes by gathering the mesh to crowd fish which are then spilled into the live hold of small boats, called “kungas.” Kungas are essentially floating fish tanks with water-filled hulls. Nets are worked from small dories and kungas towed by small tugboats. Minimal fish sorting occurs at the traps when the nets are hauled and fish are poured into the kungas. Some sorting at the traps occurs when fish are moved from the traps into kungas by lifting nets by hand. The fishermen can release non-target species as they are visible in the shallows of the nets or when in the kungas. All fish retained are required to be delivered to the fish plants.
Recent averages have been 37,000 MT of pink salmon (18 million fish) and 10,000 MT of chum salmon (2.6 million fish).
Asia, Europe and North America
Actual eligibility date
The actual eligibility date for the Iturup Island pink and chum salmon fisheries is the 12th December 2008.
Salmon caught after the actual eligibility date but before the date of the certification of the fishery and sold beyond the first point of sale after landing may be eligible to use the MSC ecolabel, provided that any company having bought fish bears a valid Chain of Custody certificate according to the MSC standard.