Salmon Facts

Salmon Facts
Salmon is fish that belongs to the family Salmonidae. It is closely related to trout and char. There are nine commercially important species of salmon that can be found in the Atlantic (Atlantic salmon, genus Salmo) and Pacific oceans (eight species, genus Oncorhynchus). Most species of salmon are anadromous, which mean that they spend part of their life in rivers and other part in the ocean. Some species of salmon spend their entire life in rivers. Certain populations of salmons are reduced to 3% of their original size due to overfishing. Atlantic salmon is one of the most endangered species of salmon.
Interesting Salmon Facts:
Salmon can reach 20 inches to 5 feet in length and 4 to 110 pounds of weight, depending on the species. Cherry salmon is the smallest and Chinook salmon the largest species of salmon.
Salmon can be blue, red or silver in color. Some species are covered with black spots and red stripes.
Color of the body depends on the age and type of habitat. Salmons change the color of the body on their way from the ocean to the freshwater habitats during the mating season.
Salmons have soft fin rays and short dorsal fin. Males and females can be distinguished by the shape of head and jaws. Females have streamlined head, while males develop hook-like structure (called kype) in their jaws before spawning.
Young salmons eat different types of insects, invertebrates and plankton while adult salmons eat small types of fish, squids and shrimps.
Salmons have a lot of natural enemies. They are often targeted by large fish, whales, sea lions and bears.
Salmon is important part of human diet because it contains a lot of proteins, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon travels thousands of miles and climbs 7.000 feet upstream until it reaches spawning areas.
Salmons rely on the sense of smell, ocean currents and moon to find waters where they were born.
Most salmons will die as a result of exhaustion after spawning. Small percent of survived salmons will spawn few more time in their lifetime.
Female prepares nest (called redd) in the gravel using her tail. She lays around 5000 eggs per nest. Once eggs are covered with sperm, female closes the nest with gravel and moves to another location to repeat the process. Female produces up to 7 redds during spawning.
Newly hatched salmons are called alevin or sac fry. They stay in fresh water from 6 months to 3 years, until they become strong enough to swim to the ocean.
Young salmons live in beaver ponds which provide shelter against predators.
Salmon's age can be determined by the number of rings on the otolith (structure in the ear).
Salmon can survive 3 to 8 years in the wild, depending on the species.

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