Salmon FAQs

Salmon FAQs

We all know the story of the wild salmon -- how it navigates against tremendous odds to return from the sea to spawn in its freshwater birthplace. The Pacific salmon, the Northwest's most famous fish, has become "endangered" in many historic rivers, and the debate on how to restore the wild stocks is a major political and environmental issue.

Fortunately, we have yet to destroy the habitat for the wild supply that flourishes in the less-populated northern regions of Alaska and British Columbia, where purveyors ship several kinds of wild salmon throughout the world. Wild salmon is famed for its full, rich flavor and its high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Connoisseurs wait for Alaska's Copper River catches, actually three kinds of salmon -- king, sockeye (red), and Coho (silver) -- that come in season in May. King has the highest fat content and flavor, while sockeye (favored in Japan for its deep red color) and Cod are milder. Also found in these regions are chub and pink (a small-sized salmon predominantly used for canning).

Downeast in Maine, home of the Atlantic salmon, depleted wild stocks mean no commercial harvesting -- or even any recreational salmon fishing. However, the Atlantic salmon lives on commercially as the breeding choice of many producers worldwide. Both Pacific and Atlantic salmon are anadromous (fish that spawn in freshwater and also live in seawater), but Pacific salmon die after they spawn, while Atlantic salmon can spawn more than once.

Maine -- and Atlantic Canada -- have turned to the farming of salmon. The United States lags well behind other countries in salmon farming. Norway leads the world market, followed by Chile, the United Kingdom, Canada, and then the states of Maine and Washington. Essentially, all salmon farming follows the same pattern.

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