Friday, May 14, 2010

No More Steelhead at PPFM


We've read your emails, we've taken in the conversations at the market, we've had sustainability representatives speak at our meetings, and we've asked the tough questions to our suppliers. Our commitment is to make a difference and we can do that on many fronts, the supply of our seafood being one. We're constantly educating ourselves and understand sustainability to be a process and one that starts with no longer carrying wild steelhead.

Identified as a "species of concern" by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1998, Steelhead trout has always been a hot-button issue for the pacific northwest all the way down into southern California. The map on the right comes from the Office of Protected Resources and provides a visual of steelhead's status as "threatened" yellow and "endangered" in red. The map is relatively small and hard to see, so click here to see it in full size.

Steelhead are similar to some Pacific salmon in their life cycle and ecological requirements. They are born in fresh water streams, where they spend their first 1-3 years of life. They then emigrate to the ocean where most of their growth occurs. After spending between one to four growing seasons in the ocean, steelhead return to their native fresh water stream to spawn. Unlike Pacific salmon, steelhead do not necessarily die after spawning and are able to spawn more than once. To the taste, they are more lean and mild tasting salmon.

As a fish market with power and responsibility for who we are on this planet, steelhead no longer fits in with our intention to provide sustainable seafood.

Although for years we've provided a variety of steelhead not present on the "endangered" list from the Olympic Peninsula here in Washington, the issue is much larger than we can begin to explain. It's now our intention to find a more sustainably managed variety of ocean going trout in the future (perhaps an aquaculture version). Efforts are widespread to better manage the populations and possibly recover the depletion of this species, and we fully support these, but the sale of wild steelhead will no longer occur at Pike Place Fish.

Please read further reports and information about this species here at the following links.

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/steelheadtrout.htm
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/salmon.htm

49 comments:

Chris said...

Thank you for choosing to not sell Wild Steelhead!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you greatly for receiving our messages, doing some research and making this decision in support of wild steelhead. I've enjoyed being a customer for many years and now that relationship can continue. Ed

Jen Easton said...

Thanks guys! Heard the news from this blog post: http://gigharborflyshop.blogspot.com/2010/05/no-more-wild-steelhead-at-pikes-place.html

I commend your decision and thank you for your swift action. You guys are known worldwide and because of that, you have a big voice when it comes to matters like these. Keep it up!

Dylan Rose said...

Let me be the first to congratulate you for making the right decision. Thank you for listening to the concerns of your customer base and choosing to help protect wild NW Steelhead!

Anonymous said...

I now commend you for a very sound & responsible decision. Thank you very much.

Jim Ficklin

fredaevans said...

Been years since I was up in Washington/worked in Seattle. But the PPM was my place for lunch 4 out of 5 days per week. It bothered me then to see Steelhead for sale under the counter, whether 'legal' or not.

In most Pacific Coast States even the 'keeping' of a 'Wild Fish' is highly illegal and even when/where permitted strongly frond upon (Winter fish on the Rogue River).

Kado's to you for your heads up response to what's a major problem. As an aside, even Albertson here in Oregon has taken a similar stance.

fae
Ashland, Oregon

Anonymous said...

This is great news!

Rich Simms said...

On behalf of the Wild Steelhead Coalition, thank you for listening to the facts and realizing the plight of of one of Washington's State Symbols in the pacific northwest. Our hat is off to Pike Place Market for making this sound decision and supporting efforts for wild steelhead recovery.

Sincerely,

Wild Steelhead Coalition
Rich Simms
President
www.wildsteelheadcoalition.org

Anonymous said...

Can you hear that? That's the sound of your community celebrating!

We are very fortunate to have such a sustanability minded fish market representing our fine city and state.

Your biggest fan!

Tony

Anonymous said...

Good Job, I applaud you guys for doing the right thing. I know where my next purchase of crab, shrimp, and Alaskan salmon will be!

David said...

Thank you for helping protect this valuable resource.

David Breiger, Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your your decesion. It means a lot to me personally, that you guys would put the fish first. I wish you all the best. Have a joyous and prosperous summer.
Thanks again,
Ned

shotgunner said...

A sincere thanks from the northern mid-west great lakes region. Someday I'll be in town and thanks you in person.

Evan said...

Outstanding! Here's to hoping that this will set the example for other vendors to follow.

Thank you for listening!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making this choice. I certainly think it was the right one.

Stewart Maxson
Spokane

Anonymous said...

Thanks you for this decision!

Anonymous said...

I am extraordinarily pleased to hear that you will no longer be selling wild steelhead and contributing to their endangered status.

As one who enjoys salmon and steelhead fishing, I follow the 'code' of most of the PNW fishing folks and never take a wild steelhead.

Thank you - I appreciate your taking a stand on this issue.

:) Michele

Bob said...

I applaud you on your decision.

I've not been by the market in many years simply because of the fact they were sold there.

I will now, once again return to Pike Place Market the next time we come through downtown Seattle.

Thank you for making a stand in trying to help that these fish are returning in future generations!

Seastorm said...

Thank you! I commend you for doing your research and doing the right thing for these fish. I hope that more local businesses follow your lead.

Becca Yucha

Broderick Smith said...

You guys rock - thank you for listening.

Mr. Beauchamp said...

This is amazing news! Thank you for taking the time to read the emails, study and understand the issue! This is a BIG step in the right direction and I hope more vendors will follow the lead. Thanks for setting the example!

Sean Beauchamp

Mark said...

Bravo guys. Thanks for acting, and doing so quickly.

Millsy said...

Heck yes Pikes...good on you

You have now laid the groundwork for others to look at and aid their decision to not sell wild steel.

Now everyone go buy something from them if you can

Cheers

Chuck Gauthier said...

Thank you for your great choice, my hats off to you.

Chuck Gauthier, Kitsap

Jeff Brazda said...

Thank You at Pike Place Market for realizing the truth and taking action on it. My next salmon BBQ will be from PPFM, it's been a long time and I will gladly make sure that others recognize your commitment.
Brazdas fly fishing.

David said...

thank you!! our state fish deserves it!

iamnotahippy said...

Wow. Way to be awesome. You've got a new permanent customer.

John Platt said...

In other words, Pikes Place Market fish merchants are choosing to boycott a regulated and legal tribal fishery and will seek a "fish farm" alternative. Will you also stop selling endangered chinook and coho salmon that happen to be caught by non-Indian fisheries. They are even more plentiful at your local fish feedlot.

Jamie said...

Thank you for doing the right thing for our dwindling steelhead runs. As an icon of the northwest you've stepped up and made a good example for others in the business.

Zack said...

thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing the right thing!

Bob
Puyallup, WA

Austin said...

Thank you for not only listening, but taking action.

Westin said...

Thank you for your decision to help in the fight to protect Wild Steelhead.

Anonymous said...

We have one of the most rich seafood environments in the world but still need help from vendors like you to step up and make the hard decisions...thanks so much for making your place a regular stop on our frequent trips to Seattle again!!!
The toughest decisions are often the hardest to make, however sometimes leading to extraordinary benefits and reward.
Respectfully yours-
The Medalia's

TripleDub Outdoors said...

Thank you for not selling wild steelhead, this is great news and should be honored.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. Simply wonderful!

Orness said...

You have just gained a new customer!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making the right decision and choosing not to sell wild steelhead!

thomas said...

Thank you!

Bob Triggs said...

Congratulations on joining the many voices of reason calling for restoration of our "Washington State Fish"; The Wild Steelhead.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear it Fish Guys! I'll be down there throwing some of my business your way for something sustainable soon.

!!!!

Anonymous said...

While it is a great thing to do, I wonder why only the Steelhead? Where do you draw the line? The word, sustainable, should never be applied to any fish being sold at the Pikes Place Market currently unless it is completely farm raised, that is, hatched from eggs and all the way to maturity in the swimming pool. Something else must be going on behind the scene.

Fred said...

two thumbs up

Bodhishanti said...

I really appreciate your decision not to sell an ESA-listed fish species! Kudos and hats off to all of you!!!

Flywaters said...

I wish I could share your joy, but I can’t. I really don’t see where this is a victory. In Pike’s report they clearly state that they are searching for an “aquaculture version” to wild steelhead - TRANSLATION: “farmed steelhead”. They go on to say, in the same report, that most of the steelhead they have provided through the years does not come from any “endangered” areas.

I fail to see how “pushing” these folks into potentially promoting and cultivating relationships that encourage “farmed” steelhead is a victory. Have we learned nothing from the many issues we now face with “farmed salmon”?

Since the steelhead they sold did not come from “endangered” areas, wouldn’t it have been more beneficial to have everyone involved come to the table and put money, time, efforts and energy into solid, viable solutions that address the root cause rather than merely treat a symptom?

I realize there is no simple solution nor one right answer to this issue, but I firmly believe all that has happened here is another “band-aid” has been put on this issue…

Flywaters said...

I wish I could share your joy, but I can’t. I really don’t see where this is a victory. In Pike’s report they clearly state that they are searching for an “aquaculture version” to wild steelhead - TRANSLATION: “farmed steelhead”. They go on to say, in the same report, that most of the steelhead they have provided through the years does not come from any “endangered” areas.

I fail to see how “pushing” these folks into potentially promoting and cultivating relationships that encourage “farmed” steelhead is a victory. Have we learned nothing from the many issues we now face with “farmed salmon”?

Since the steelhead they sold did not come from “endangered” areas, wouldn’t it have been more beneficial to have everyone involved come to the table and put money, time, efforts and energy into solid, viable solutions that address the root cause rather than merely treat a symptom?

I realize there is no simple solution nor one right answer to this issue, but I firmly believe all that has happened here is another “band-aid” has been put on this issue…

Auklet said...

In Spite of all the Hype and mis-information promulgated by the CCA and PSA-types, the harvest - sport and commercial - of wild steelhead is done in conjunction with the State and Treaty Indian Tribal co-managers, and is covered by take authorization under the Endangered Species Act by National Marine Fisheries Service.

I am saddened and frustrated that the Pike Place Fish Market would stoop to such petty and racist politicking by the Sport Steelhead Industry. Good thing that there are other, better, and cheaper places to buy my fish.

Auklet

Anonymous said...

We have to consider what "wild" steelhead means, and what this policy really means. To sport fishers "wild" means fish that started their life in the gravel from natural spawning. As opposed to fish that started their lives in hatcheries. But perhaps here it means "caught in the wild" as opposed to "raised in a net pen" or "farmed". The "wild caught" steelhead come primarily from legal, regulated native American fisheries conducted under the tribe's treaty rights with a number of types of fishing gear, but principally gill nets (a gear hated by other sport fishers). The native gill nets are set nets that indiscriminately kill both wild and hatchery steelhead since they are in place for many hours before being pulled. Native fishers also use other gear such as dip nets and hook and line. They traditionally kill and keep or sell all they catch regardless of origin, while other fishers are required to release wild steelhead and only keep hatchery steelhead (identified by fin clips applied at the hatchery). If the policy means that they will continue to buy and sell hatchery origin steelhead from the native fisheries, then that's easily accomplished due to the fin clips, and the natives will have to sell their unclipped steelhead elsewhere. If it means no "wild caught" steelhead, the natives will need to find another outlet to sell all their steelhead (hatchery and wild). Either way it will have a detrimental impact on the native economy. If over time, many fish buyers switch to a policy of "We'll buy your hatchery origin steelhead but not your wild steelhead" then that will push the native fishery to eventually use more selective fishing methods, some of which they already employ. That would allow the native fisheries to continue to provide revenue to their poor economies, while at the same time reducing impacts on wild stocks of steelhead. Unfortunately, many sportfishers have elevated the steelhead to god-like status, and want all commercial fisheries for steelhead banished, regardless of the status of the particular stock of fish. But steelhead stocks that are healthy can be harvested at some rate and it makes no difference to the fish how they were killed. In all areas, hatchery steelhead can be harvested without harm to native stocks (provided selective gear and methods are used), and in fact removing hatchery steelhead from those waters is beneficial to native stocks. The wise policy would be to only purchase and sell hatchery origin steelhead, and to encourage others to do the same, while working with the native fishers to help them convert to a more selective fishery that harvests hatchery steelhead and releases wild steelhead. Steelhead farming in net pens is not an approach I would encourage.

Brett Bates said...

Thanks Guys,

Truly from me and my children. I am dahm destined to have fish for them to catch when they are my age. Good decision I think your business will prosper without it and now you have the game fishers behind you