Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smoked Salmon Sales

Hi folks,
Here is an exciting announcement from Skeena Wild regarding the sale of sustainably caught smoked sockeye salmon.

In conjunction with Gitxsan First Nations fishers and the NCSA, Skeena Wild is offering smoked sockeye salmon for sale. The fish are selectively caught by beach seine with all other species released. This is the kind of transformation in the Skeena commercial fishery we all want to see. The move to very selective fishing coupled with value-added products is a win-win situation for everyone involved and most importantly for the fish themselves. Non-target fish are impacted as little as possible.
Here are the poster with more information from Skeena Wild and an order form for the smoked salmon.
We have sampled the product recently and find it to be of very high quality. Please support this important initiative and purchase some salmon for yourself or as a gift for friends. You will love the salmon and be directly supporting transformative change in Skeena fisheries.
To order: call 1-888-4skeena or e-mail:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Down here in the USA, Pacific NW, we have been passing around this article. I want to share it for posting at your Skeena steelhead blog.

Keep up the fight,
Virginia Ross

State of the Steelhead: The Canary Ain’t Singing Anymore


As early as mid-July, the alarmingly low numbers created a groundswell of concern from area anglers, guides and lodges. Acting together and separately, these individuals mounted a campaign urging the DFO to alter or cut back on the scheduled commercial salmon gillnet fisheries. This, following a year (2006) when, despite warnings from their own biologists and the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment regarding extremely low returns of steelhead, DFO allowed an intensive salmon net fishery and the resulting by-catch of depressed early steelhead stocks. DFO’s response in 2007? No action taken whatsoever.

Why is this happening again in “Steelhead Paradise” of all places? It’s the direct result of a “surplus” crop of two to three million sockeye salmon created in the artificial, government-built spawning channels of Babine Lake. These fish, produced purely for the small (400 boats) commercial fleet’s benefit, just happen to return to the Skeena at the same time as steelhead, coho and other depressed Skeena stocks. The result? Lots of dead steelhead found in lethal gillnets. All this for a fishery that brings in a mere 90 cents a pound for sockeyes and about five cents a pound for pink salmon.

“Why are we subsidizing the broken part of this fishery, the commercial gillnetting, to the detriment of the only part of this fishery, the recreational side, that makes economic sense?” – Bruce Hill, Headwaters Initiative

Will Somebody Please Do The Math? Anybody?

A recent study shows the Skeena River sport fishing industry brings more than $30 million a year into the local economy. On the other hand, the average gross income of a British Columbia North Coast gillnetter in 2005 was $8,000 – about the value of two or three sport-caught and released wild steelhead. Exactly how many steelhead perished as by-catch to earn that $8,000 we’ll never know for sure, but it’s a significantly high enough number that on the rare occasion when the nets are out of the water, steelhead escapement skyrockets. And this doesn’t even take into account Skeena steelhead killed in the B.C. and Alaskan salmon seine fisheries – many observers believe the number is as high or even higher than those caught in gillnets. So, let’s see, in this commercial fishery, we have a low-income, high negative-impact industry that kills thousands of steelhead and depressed salmon stocks, while the sport fishing sector provides large amounts of income with very little impact. And yet, our decision makers can’t seem to do the math.

Think that’s a Canadian problem? Think again. It isn’t any better in the United States. On the Columbia River, a tiny fleet of gillnetters is allowed to target hatchery spring Chinook in the lower river. Unfortunately, as on the Skeena, other fish have the great misfortune to return in the same timeframe. A recent year saw more endangered winter steelhead taken as bycatch than the target species.

Even more maddening, is the cost to taxpayers to produce those hatchery spring Chinook. According to the Independent Economic Analysis Board of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, a harvested adult spring Chinook from the Upper Columbia Basin’s Entiat hatchery cost citizens $68,031 to produce. Yes, you read that correctly: $68,031 dollars for a single fish. (No fuzzy math or cooked stats here: The IEAB simply took the average annual operating and maintenance cost of this hatchery and divided by the average number of harvested adult fish produced there. Amazingly, this ridiculous number doesn’t even take into account the cost of lost electrical production as generation is reduced to assist downstream juvenile migration or the expense of trapping, barging and trucking the juveniles around the dams.) If a typical, hatchery-produced Columbia River spring Chinook weighs 12 pounds, that fish cost taxpayers nearly $5,700 a pound, the gillnetter probably made $7 or $8 a pound at the dock, and then you were offered the opportunity to pay $17 a pound for it again at the supermarket. And at the same time, large numbers of endangered wild winter steelhead perished in the process. Great deal, huh?