The Wild Salmon Center and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company summed up the results of the four-year program for conservation of wild salmon on Sakhalin Island.
“Wild salmon is one of the most important resources not only for Sakhalin, but also for the entire North Pacific Region,” said Guido Rahr, President of Wild Salmon Center. “As a result of this Initiative, an important one for sustainable development in the region, a large number of projects have been successfully carried out. Our joint undertaking has made a significant contribution to the conservation of salmon and its ecosystems on Sakhalin. We are especially pleased that, from the beginning, the project was supported by the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, an oil and gas company that consistently implements principles of sustainable development.”
“Corporate social and environmental responsibility is the ideological foundation for all of our work. We are pleased with the results of this joint project with Wild Salmon Center and hope that we were able to create a stable self-sustaining system that will continue to promote conservation of Sakhalin salmon resources into the future,” commented Andrei Galaev, Chief Executive Officer of Sakhalin Energy Investment Company.
The main objectives of the program consisted of promoting conservation and sustainable use of salmon and its ecosystems, contributing to the sustainable economic and social development of Sakhalin. The key activities of the program included the establishment of a Sakhalin monitoring program, development of a conservation strategy for priority watersheds on rivers in the northwestern part of Sakhalin Island, advancement of sustainable fishing practices, and support of local and regional educational programs.
As part of this Initiative, a network of public watershed councils was created to develop and implement conservation strategies for salmon rivers and involve local communities in the fight against poaching. Altogether, five councils are now successfully operating on Sakhalin. Lessons from these watersheds have extended beyond Sakhalin and, in 2011, new councils were created in the Kamchatka and Khabarovsk regions.
As a result of the program to promote sustainable fisheries, 19 Sakhalin fishing companies have decided to undergo assessment against the international certification standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for compliance with environmentally responsible fishing. In June 2012 the Nogliki and Smirnykh pink salmon fisheries were awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification after the independent auditor MRAG determined the fisheries meet the MSC standard as sustainable and well-managed fisheries.
Due to work on monitoring salmon populations, carried out across Sakhalin, valuable data has been collected on the island’s key spawning rivers. More than 10,000 schoolchildren have participated in local and regional environmental education and outreach programs. Also, 50 schools have included the “Salmon Watch” program in their educational curricula.
The four-year program was co-funded (proportionally 50/50) by Sakhalin Energy Investment Company and Wild Salmon Center, an international conservation organization. The total funding amounted to $8.8 million. This program has become one of the most ambitious Russian projects on sustainable development. Implementation of the program was carried out by the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative Center, established in 2007. In 2009, SSI was awarded the main prize in the prestigious competition of charitable projects “Corporate Donor of Russia” under the nomination “Best practice that demonstrates CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] principles and promotes development of the Company’ corporate standards on social performance”. SSI project has become a leading example of international cooperation and was brought up at the meetings of the Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) in 2010 and 2011. SSI has attracted significant investments by public and private international donors, and in 2010 became a finalist for the International award «Riverprize».