Alaska Salmon photos
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Alaska has five species of salmon, all of which are harvested for personal use by individuals, and/or by commercial fishermen. The five species include:
- King Salmon, also called the Chinook salmon
- Silver Salmon, also called the Coho salmon
- Chum Salmon, also called the Dog salmon
- Red Salmon, also called the Sockeye salmon
- Pink Salmon, also called the Humpy salmon
Salmon are normally anadromous – they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, and then return to fresh water to reproduce. “Spawned out” salmon typically die within days or weeks after spawning.
Salmon is a popular and important food, considered healthy due to high content of protein, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. Most Pacific salmon are wild caught, although farmed fish contribute to salmon consumption.
King (Chinook) Salmon
The King Salmon is the largest of all Pacific salmon, commonly weighing over 30 pounds. It is Alaska’s state fish, and highly sought after by anglers and commercial fishermen do to its size and rich oily meat. In Alaska, it ranges from the panhandle to the Yukon River. It is caught in rivers as well as the ocean open ocean waters. As the fish migrates up the river, it slowly changes color as it nears it’s spawning grounds
Red (Sockeye) Salmon
Red Salmon grow to as long as 33 inches and 6-8 pounds. They are blue and silver in the ocean, but turn red with a green head when they enter fresh water to spawn. Males also develop a hump on their back. Some consider red salmon to be some of the best tasting fish in the world. Many animals feed on salmon, and brown bears are know to consume great quantities to increase their fat storage for winter hibernation.
Pink Salmon are the smallest of the Pacific salmon, growing to around 4 pounds. They are also the most abundant, and are important for the fishing industry. Harvests of greater than 100 million pink salmon have occurred in Alaska alone. Black bears also feed on salmon in the streams along the shores of coastal Alaska. Pink salmon do not migrate great distances up rivers, unlike the other four species of salmon.