PCC Community Markets has partnered with the National Fisheries Conservation Center to create the PCC Chinook Sourcing Standard, a place-based initiative to ensure the retailer only offers Chinook salmon sourced to protect Salish Sea southern resident killer whales’ main food supply and overall Chinook populations. Seafood meeting this standard is now available in all 15 PCC locations.
In September 2018, PCC took its first step to protect the killer whale population by placing a moratorium on selling Pacific Northwest-sourced Chinook salmon. It said it listened to feedback from treaty tribes and marine conservation and fishery experts to determine how to adjust the moratorium to better meet the goal.
“PCC understood the moratorium was an initial step in working to address the problems facing the Salish Sea southern resident killer whales,” said Brenna Davis, VP of social and environmental responsibility for PCC Community Markets. “It enabled us to work with the National Fisheries Conservation Center to develop a more robust, science-based standard, which balances complex conservation issues with our commitment to supporting local producers. The partnership also strengthened our resolve to advocate for policies that address two major issues facing the southern residents: protecting Chinook habitat and addressing climate change.”
The new standard focuses on the location where the Chinook is caught (fishery) and requires strong evidence that fisheries avoid reducing prey supply for southern resident whales, the retailer said. Fisheries are given a rating of A, B or C based on the answers to three key criteria questions:
- Prey Interception Risk: Does the fishery intercept the southern residents’ main source of food?
- Stock Risk: Does sourcing from the fishery (or hatcheries that support it) deplete Chinook stocks?
- Knowledge Risk: Are risks of prey interception and stock depletion understood well enough to be reliably evaluated and managed?
PCC said it would only sell Chinook salmon from fisheries that receive an A in the Prey Interception Risk category and an A or B in the Stock and Knowledge Risk categories.
The co-op said it would continue to support local fishers by selling other species of Pacific Northwest salmon, and its fresh and frozen raw seafood is responsibly sourced as defined by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.