British Columbia sockeye salmon — Marine Stewardship Council
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British Columbia sockeye salmon

Last Updated: 8 August 2016 

MSC status

Certified as sustainable in July 2010.

Please refer to the assessment downloads section for further details. Contact the Conformity Assessment Body.


Species:  Sockeye salmon (Onchorhyncus nerka)
Location:  British Columbia and Canadian Pacific EEZ waters
Fishing methods:  Seine, gillnet, troll, beach seine, fish wheels, weirs and dip nets
Number of fisheries: 4

More about sockeye salmon

Most sockeye in BC and the Yukon spawn in late summer or fall in lake-fed systems; at lake outlets, in lakes, or in streams flowing into lakes. Major spawning runs are found in the Fraser, Skeena, Nass, Stikine, Taku and Alsek watersheds as well as those of the Smith and Rivers inlets. Major spawning runs were found in the Columbia River before the construction of main stem dams in the 1930s.

Sockeye salmon return to their natal stream to spawn after spending one to four years in the ocean. Mature sockeye salmon that have spent only one year in the ocean are called jacks and are, almost without exception, males. Once in the ocean, sockeye salmon grow quickly. While returning adults usually weigh between 4 and 8 pounds, weights in excess of 15 pounds have been reported.

In some areas, populations of sockeye salmon remain in fresh water all their lives. This landlocked form of sockeye salmon, called "kokanee,"  reaches a much smaller maximum size than the anadromous form and rarely grows to be over 14 inches long.

Commercial market

The main commercial markets are USA, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Actual eligibility date

17th January 2009

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