Salmon Tendering: An Essential Link in the Seafood Supply Chain

gray fish jumping over body of water surrounded with plants


Salmon tendering may not be a familiar term for many, but it plays a crucial role in the seafood industry, ensuring that fresh, high-quality salmon reaches our plates. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of salmon tendering, exploring what it is, the process involved, and the importance of tendering in the seafood supply chain.

What is Salmon Tendering?

Salmon tendering is the process of transporting freshly caught salmon from fishing vessels to processing facilities. Tender vessels, also known as tenders, act as an intermediary between fishing boats and onshore processing plants, helping to streamline the process and ensure that the salmon are quickly and efficiently brought to shore for processing.

The Salmon Tendering Process

The salmon tendering process involves several key steps, which are outlined below:

a. Catching the Salmon: Fishing vessels, primarily gillnetters and purse seiners, catch salmon in designated fishing areas.

b. Transferring the Catch: Once a fishing vessel has a full catch or has reached its fishing quota, it rendezvous with a tender vessel. The salmon are then transferred from the fishing vessel to the tender, either by pumping them directly or by using brailer bags.

c. Storing the Salmon: The tender vessel is equipped with refrigerated seawater tanks, also known as RSW tanks, to store the salmon. These tanks maintain a consistent temperature, ensuring the freshness and quality of the fish during transportation.

d. Transporting the Salmon: Tender vessels travel between fishing grounds and processing facilities, collecting salmon from multiple fishing vessels before returning to shore.

e. Unloading and Processing: Upon reaching the processing facility, the tender unloads the salmon, which are then weighed, sorted, and processed. The processed salmon are then packaged and shipped to various markets for consumption.

The Importance of Salmon Tendering in the Seafood Supply Chain

Salmon tendering plays a vital role in the seafood supply chain, offering several key benefits:

a. Maintaining Freshness and Quality: Tender vessels ensure that freshly caught salmon are quickly transported to processing facilities, preserving the fish’s quality and freshness.

b. Increased Efficiency: By acting as a centralized collection point for multiple fishing vessels, tenders help to streamline the transportation process, reducing the amount of time individual fishing boats spend traveling to and from shore.

c. Fishing Ground Coverage: Tenders enable fishing vessels to focus on catching fish, extending their reach and allowing them to cover more extensive fishing grounds.

d. Reducing Environmental Impact: By minimizing the need for each fishing vessel to return to shore after each catch, tender vessels help to reduce fuel consumption and the overall environmental impact of the fishing industry.

Challenges and Considerations in Salmon Tendering

While salmon tendering plays a vital role in the seafood supply chain, there are some challenges and considerations to be aware of:

a. Maintaining Proper Temperature: Ensuring that the RSW tanks maintain a consistent temperature during transportation is essential for preserving the quality of the salmon.

b. Coordination and Communication: Effective coordination and communication between fishing vessels, tender vessels, and processing facilities are crucial to ensure the efficiency and smooth operation of the tendering process.

c. Regulatory Compliance: Tender operators must adhere to various regulations and guidelines, such as catch reporting and monitoring, to ensure the sustainability and legality of the fishing operations.

The Future of Salmon Tendering

As the seafood industry continues to evolve, salmon tendering may also adapt to address new challenges and incorporate emerging technologies. Some potential developments for the future of salmon tendering include:

a. Sustainable Practices: The seafood industry is becoming increasingly focused on sustainability, and salmon tendering will need to adapt to meet these demands. This could involve the adoption of more energy-efficient vessels, waste reduction initiatives, and the use of environmentally friendly materials.

b. Technological Innovations: The incorporation of technology into the tendering process may help improve efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. Examples include the use of advanced navigation systems, real-time monitoring of RSW tank temperatures, and the implementation of digital catch reporting and tracking systems.

c. Collaboration with Indigenous Communities: In regions where indigenous communities rely on salmon for their subsistence and cultural practices, working collaboratively with these communities can help ensure that the tendering process respects and supports their rights and needs.

d. Adaptation to Climate Change: As climate change continues to impact the marine ecosystem, salmon tendering operations may need to adapt to shifting fish populations and changing ocean conditions. This could involve altering tender routes, adjusting the timing of tendering operations, or collaborating with researchers to monitor and respond to changes in the marine environment.


The salmon tendering process is a vital link in the seafood supply chain, ensuring that high-quality salmon reaches consumers worldwide. As the industry faces new challenges and opportunities, salmon tendering will continue to adapt and evolve to meet these demands. By embracing sustainable practices, incorporating new technologies, and working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, the future of salmon tendering can contribute to a more sustainable and responsible seafood industry.