Fishing for Wild Salmon in Alaska

By Rowan Jacobsen, "Swimming Upstream," March/April 2012

Alaska’s wild salmon have been heralded as healthy, tasty and sustainable. Even better news, they’re back in record numbers. Here’s why.

"I love Salmon but can't bring myself to buy it after Fukushima..the waters are contaminated now. "

Thanks to these efforts, in 2000 the Alaska salmon fishery achieved certification by the Marine Stewardship Council, the world's leading seafood sustainability certification program. According to Kerry Coughlin, MSC's regional director for the Americas, "The Alaska salmon fishery became the first U.S. and the largest fishery at the time to become certified to the MSC standard, serving as a model of sustainable management for fisheries everywhere."

To meet the MSC standard, Alaska fishery managers demonstrated to an independent team of scientific experts that they successfully maintain salmon stock levels, there is minimal impact from fishing on the marine ecosystem that supports the stocks and there is ongoing responsive and effective management of the salmon fishery.

That "responsive management" is what sets apart the Alaska salmon fishery. Most fisheries set a target quota and stick to it, and sometimes end up overharvesting. In Alaska, however, fisheries managers watch the populations as they progress through their life cycles and adapt the quota to what they estimate can be sustainably harvested.

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