PCC Community Markets Partners with National Fisheries Conservation Center in Continued Commitment to Address Depleting Food Supply of the Southern Resident Killer Whale
New PCC Chinook Sourcing Standard Created to Not Deplete Food Chain or Overall Salmon Stocks
(SEATTLE, September 1, 2020) – PCC Community Markets (PCC), the largest community-owned food market in the U.S., today announced the PCC Chinook Sourcing Standard created in partnership with the National Fisheries Conservation Center. This new place-based standard was developed to ensure PCC only offers Chinook salmon sourced to protect Salish Sea Southern Resident Killer Whales’ (“Southern Residents”) main food supply and overall Chinook populations. Chinook meeting this new standard are now available at PCC’s 15 locations across the Puget Sound area.
PCC’s first step to address protection of Southern Residents’ prey supply was to place a moratorium on selling Pacific Northwest-sourced Chinook salmon in September of 2018. In the co-op’s continued effort to tackle this issue, PCC listened to feedback from treaty tribes, and marine conservation and fishery experts, concluding that the moratorium could be adjusted to better achieve its 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, PCC Community Markets VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility. “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.”
In order to develop a carefully crafted standard, the team looked at fishery data and studies, and reached out to government and tribal officials, fishers, hatchery experts and other marine conservation experts. The resulting standard is place-based — focusing on the location where the Chinook is caught (fishery) — and requires strong evidence that fisheries avoid reducing prey supply for Southern Residents. Under the new PCC Chinook Sourcing Standard, fisheries will be given a rating of A, B or C (with A being the best and so on) 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 will 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.
“This standard is by no means the final word,” said Brad Warren, Executive Director of the National Fisheries Conservation Center. “It is a measure that offers a ‘no-harm’ choice to concerned consumers while we all roll up our sleeves to tackle the systemic forces — like habitat degradation, pollution and climate change — that are increasingly important drivers of decline for Chinook salmon and the Southern Residents that depend on them.”
PCC remains committed to protecting local food systems and will continue working with the National Fisheries Conservation Center to evaluate fisheries and develop a broader scope initiative for other retailers to address additional categories of impact. The co-op will also continue to make comprehensive efforts to protect the Salish Sea, including ongoing work through the following:
- Partnerships with Salmon-Safe certified farms, like Wilcox Family Farms. Salmon Safe is a nonprofit devoted to restoring agricultural and urban watersheds so salmon can spawn and thrive;
- Donating proceeds of sales of Chinook Wines to “Long Live the Kings,” a local nonprofit organization that works to protect Chinook salmon;
- Donating proceeds of sales of Cards by Lottie greeting cards to the Center for Whale Research;
- Financial support to organizations working to protect marine ecosystems through our grant and other giving programs; and
- Other efforts that include advancing the organic supply chain to keep pesticides and other toxins out of streams and advocating an end to net-pen fish farms, especially for non-native Atlantic salmon.
The co-op will also 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. To learn more about the PCC Chinook Sourcing Standard, please visit: PCC Standards by Department (Seafood) and the current issue of the PCC Sound Consumer.
About PCC Community Markets
Founded in Seattle in 1953, PCC Community Markets (PCC) is the nation’s largest community-owned food market with an unmatched enthusiasm for making food from scratch. PCC is a haven for those who share a dedication to fresh, organic, seasonal food that is sustainably sourced from local producers, farmers, ranchers and fishers. With an active membership of just over 80,000 households, PCC operates 15 stores in the Puget Sound area, including the cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Ballard, Central District, Columbia City, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op also plans to open new stores in Downtown Seattle and Madison Valley.
In 2019, PCC gave more than 65% percent of pretax earnings to members and the communities it serves, including nonprofits around the Puget Sound area such as PCC Farmland Trust, FareStart, Ventures, and Long Live the Kings.