SALISH SEA CERTIFIED LABEL
The goal of our Salish Sea Certified Sustainable program is to highlight the extraordinary fish and seafoods produced in the Salish Sea from a quality perspective and to acknowledge and honor the people and institutions that have done so much to restore and secure this legacy for future generations.
The seafood of the Salish Sea is the best in the world.
The unique indigenous co-management structure for the Washington State portion of the Salish Sea fishery provides for the best conservation and community decisions of any fishery in the world–despite all the challenges of managing salmon populations in a changing environment. Washington State native treaty tribes are co-managers, meaning fully equal to the state of Washington in all fisheries management decisions. This equality makes Washington State the only region in North America where native groups are equal partners in fisheries management. This approach is proven effective–The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recognizes the sustainability of Washington Salish Sea salmon fisheries by awarding sockeye, coho, chum and pink salmon fisheries ratings ranging from Best Choice to Good Alternative, based on various harvest techniques.
Our goal is to share this story as wide and far as possible. The Salish Sea Certified program gives buyers assurance that the fish we certify is actually the fish customers receive. This is guaranteed by a rigorous audit process.
The first principle of making sustained progress is to recognize and reward success. And the first rule of creating meaningful action is to put the right stakeholders in the right positions. This is a story we are so passionate about that we have dedicated our lives to telling it and to celebrating the people who have persevered against the odds to secure our salmon legacy.
Salmon are the lifeblood of our region, an irreplaceable component of our culture and the treasure of our food system. The mighty rivers that feed the Salish Sea, the Fraser, the Nooksack, the Stillaguamish,Snohomish, Duwamish, Nisqually, Puyallup, Skokomish and more, wind their way from protected wilderness in their headwaters, through working forest and farmlands and spill out into the emerald estuaries of the Salish Sea.
All five species of Pacific salmon return to these waters and spawn in these rivers. From the early runs of Springer Chinook in April and May to chum salmon in October and November, these fish are welcomed as honored home comers after years of passage and trial on the high seas. Since time immemorial, Salmon have sustained humans in the Salish Sea.
Much of this landscape has been profoundly changed by human activity but what endures are the original locals and their dedication to the place and to the resources. The treaty tribes on the Washington side of the Salish Sea have a right to harvest seafood in these waters, secured by treaties signed with the US federal Government in 1855 and 1855. It took a hundred and twenty years of struggle – till 1974, for Washington State to recognize these treaty rights. The Boldt Decision, as this ruling is known by, set the stage for a revolution in fisheries management and a revival in indigenous salmon culture and economy. Washington treaty tribes continue to spearhead the flight to preserve and restore salmon, most recently in 2018 winning a landmark court decision forcing the State of Washington to replace salmon passage-blocking culverts after nearly 20 years of litigation. We hold that the activism and advocacy shown by the Salish Sea treaty tribes over the decades has been nothing short of heroic and we hold that the Salish people deserve the lions share of credit for the preservation and restoration of Salish Sea salmon we have seen to date. New partnerships between Treaty and Non-Treaty fishers and other actors in the fishery and activism community hold promise for many more partnerships and progress on behalf of our salmon and ecosystem.