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Salmon, Coho , Silver, White

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - All applicable methods
Capture area - Pacific (FAO 67)
Stock area - North Pacific
Stock detail - Alaska
Accreditation - Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and or FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Programme
Fish type - Oily fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is a good sustainable fish to eat. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find similar fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

The Alaskan Coho populations are not considered to be overfished, and are not listed under the USAs Endangered Species Act. The Californian and Pacific North West (PNW) populations are of variable status with some populations listed under the US Endangered Species Act, and some abundant. All Coho salmon caught in waters off Alaska is from fisheries certified to the FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Programme as responsibly managed for sustainable use. The Alaskan Coho fisheries were recertified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in November 2013. Overall Coho salmon from certified fisheries is considered to be a good sustainable choice for the consumer.

Biology

Pacific salmon occur from California, north along the Pacific coast throughout the Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean waters adjacent to Alaska. The five species (chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye) are members of a large family of fish known as salmonidae, which are abundant throughout the temperate zones of the northern and southern hemispheres. Pacific salmon are a shorter lived species and much more prolific breeders than Atlantic salmon. The Coho salmon is found throughout the North Pacific and in most coastal streams and rivers from Alaska to central California and from Russia to Japan. In common with other Pacific salmon species the Coho salmon is anadromous (spawning in freshwater) and semelparous (typically they will die after spawning). Females deposit 2400 to 4500 eggs between September and February. Eggs hatch in the spring and the young Coho salmon (parr) usually spend one to two years in their natal freshwater streams before migrating to the ocean. They return to their natal streams at between three and four years of age when sexually mature. Some males (jacks) return after only six months in the ocean. Coho grow rapidly, are short lived, and have a high reproductive potential, but are very sensitive to human and natural stressors and therefore vulnerable to fishing pressures. The Coho is smaller than the Chinook but larger than the Chum or Sockeye, and is the most acrobatic of the Pacific salmon which makes it a premier sport fish.

Stock information

Stock area
North Pacific

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Stock information
In Alaska the Coho is not considered to be overfished, and current populations there are healthy. It is considered likely that Alaskan Coho populations will remain healthy, in view of the sustainability principles embodied within the Alaskan state constitution. Coho salmon on the west coast of the USA have experienced dramatic declines in abundance over the past several decades as a result of human induced and natural factors, and they are unlikely to regain the abundance levels seen in later half of the 20th century. Five Coho salmon stocks in the Pacific North West (PNW) and California are listed under the USAs Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Alaskan Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) 2014 summer harvest forecast for Coho salmon was 4.4 m fish out of a total forecast of 133.1m fish for Pacific salmon as a whole i.e 3.3% of the total by number. Average catches in recent years have been 3.5% by fish number and 5.9% by weight of the Alaskan salmon harvest. The summer Coho troll fishery off South East Alaska was reported to have started well but fell off much earlier than usual.

Management

Alaskan state policy includes the development and use of replenishable resources in accordance with the principle of sustainable yield. The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) establishes regulations guiding the conservation and development of the states fisheries resources and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) has the responsibility to implement the BOFs regulations and management plans through in-season management and applied science. ADFG biologists make quantitative harvest forecasts based upon previous spawning levels, subsequent fry abundance, spring seawater temperatures and historical harvest data, and fishery managers monitor salmon run strength and adjust harvesting during the season to ensure that enough salmon return to their natal streams to sustain future runs. Alaska operates a limited entry system to its salmon fishery in addition to the ASFG management processes. In some areas of Alaska, hatchery production has been developed to supplement wild stocks and enhance commercial and recreational fisheries. The west coast USA fisheries manage the fishery by means of gear requirements, minimum size restrictions, quotas and seasonal limits. An extensive network of hatcheries has been built in the PNW and in Canada to lessen the impact of hydroelectric and other developments on the availability of suitable salmon habitats, and rebuild depressed stocks.

Capture information

In Alaska most Coho production is from wild stocks but there is some aquaculture production from marine pens in Chile, Japan, Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Most Coho production is from commercial troll (c.50%) and gillnet fisheries within 0-3 nm of the Alaskan coast , but there also a small commercial purse seine fishery in addition to a much smaller troll fishery in the Pacific Northwest. Some Coho are caught as bycatch in other salmon fisheries. Trolling, purse seine netting and gillnets cause no damage to the ocean floor and therefore there is no adverse impact on the habitats of other species. By-catch is minimal with other salmon species being the main by-catch from Coho harvesting, albeit gillnets can cause high by-catch of seabirds and porpoises. Salmon in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region are harvested by drift and fixed nets, and fish wheel.

Read more about capture methods


References
Alaska Department of Fish and Game www.adfg.alaska.gov/?adfg=cohosalmon.main; Fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/245; ASMI Website: http://sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/fisheries; Fishchoice www.fishchoice.com/buying-guide/coho-salmon; Fishsource www.fishsource.com/fishery/identifaction?fishery=coho+salmon+-+East+Pacific%3A+Alaska; NOAA Fisheries www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/cohosalmon.htm; Fishwatch www.fishwatch.gov/seafood_profiles/species/salmon/species_pages/coho_salmon.htm

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