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Last updated date: 29th May 2024
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Salmon Fish

Salmon is the common name for the fishes of the Salmonidae family. The other fishes in the same family are trout, char, and whitefish. Salmon are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Typically, salmons are called anadromous: as they hatch in the freshwater then they will migrate to the oceans and then return to freshwater to reproduce. Folklore has it that the fish return to the exact spot where they hatched to spawn. The term salmon is from the Latin term ‘Salmo’ which means ‘To leap’.

What is Salmon Fish?

Salmon fish is a large silver-coloured fish that lives in both freshwater and marine water which is consumed as food. 

Salmon fish have eight fins including the tail. Some of the fins are arranged in the form of pairs on each side of the body. The pectoral fins are placed below the shoulder and the pelvic or ventral fins are placed on the belly which is back from the head. They respire through gills, have strong muscles where the Atlantic salmon is known for its speed and power. They have swim bladders that help them to maintain buoyancy. 


  • The scientific classification of salmon fish is as follows:

  • Kingdom: Animalia

  • Phylum: Chordata

  • Class: Actinopterygii

  • Order: Salmoniformes

  • Family: Salmonidae

  • Subfamily: Salmonidae

River Salmon Fish: History 

Salmon fish has been discovered by archaeologists 5,000 years ago, which is considered important in the culture and livelihood of the coastal dwellers. As animists, the people as animists not only relied on salmon for food but also for their spiritual guidance. Natives often used the entire fish and by creating items they did make use of waste as well, the items are such as turning the bladder into glue, bones for toys, and skin for clothing and shoes. Indigenous tribes on the pacific coast introduced the first salmon ceremony, which consists of three major parts. 

Some of the Salmon species populations are reducing the ones that dominated the Pacific Ocean are now just in a fraction in population and size. The origin of the word for "salmon" was one of the locations of the origin of the Indo-European languages. 

River Salmon Fish: Mythology

The salmon is an important creature for poetry and in Celtic mythology. In Irish folklore, they thought that indicating the salmon by their name is unlucky. To the Native American mythology, salmons are the centre for spiritual and cultural thought on the Pacific coast, from the Haida and Coast Salish peoples to the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples in British Columbia. 

In Irish mythology, a creature called the Salmon of Knowledge plays a key role in the tale The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn. In the tale, the Salmon will grant powers of knowledge to whoever eats it and is sought by poet Finn Aces for seven years.

Types of Salmon

The Pacific Ocean is considered as the home to six types of salmon, and the U.S and the Canadian boats consist of five fishes among them that includes King, Sockeye, Silver, Pink, and Chum.

  1. Chinook Salmon or King Salmon: 

They are also known as King salmon, are considered by many to be the best-tasting of the salmon bunch. They have a flesh that is rich in colour, where the colour varies from white to deep red colour, they also contain high-fat content.

  1. Coho Salmon or Silver Salmon: 

They are also known as silver salmon or "silvers" because of their especially silver skin. They have flesh that is bright red in colour and the texture is slightly more delicate than compared to that of the Chinook salmon but it provides a similar flavour.

  1. Pink Salmon or Humpies or Humpback Salmon: 

Pink salmon are the most common Pacific salmon. They have very light-coloured flesh and have low-fat content and the flesh is more flavoured. Pink salmon are often stored as canned but they are also sold fresh, frozen, and smoked. Sometimes these are also called "humpies" or humpback salmon because the distinctive hump is developed on their back only when they spawn.

  1. Red Salmon or Sockeye Salmon: 

These salmons are noted for their bright red-orange flesh and deep rich flavour. Due to the reason that they turn deep red when they move upstream to spawn, these are known as "reds" for their dark flesh colour.

  1. Salmo Salar or Atlantic Salmon: 

While the Pacific is home to several species of salmon, the Atlantic has one, the species Salmo salar, commonly known as Atlantic salmon. All commercially available Atlantic salmons are farmed. In the case of sustainability, the farmed salmon have a bad reputation.

  1. Silverbrite Salmon or Chum Salmon or Keta Salmon or Dog Salmon: 

Chum is also called dog salmon for its dog-like teeth. Keta is obtained from its species name and it is a way to get away from the negative association chum that it sometimes had. Keta is a smaller fish averaging about 8 pounds with pale to medium-coloured flesh and a lower fat content compared to other salmon.

All about Salmon

  1. Food: 

Salmon is a popular food. Classified as an oily fish, the fish is considered to be healthy due to the presence of high proteins, high omega-3 fatty acids, and high vitamin D. Another popular preparation method is smoked salmon and it can either be hot smoked or cold smoked. Black bears also rely on salmon as food. The leftovers are considered as the important nutrients that can be supplied for the Canadian forest, such as the soil, trees, and plants.

  1. Management: 

In the Atlantic and in some parts of the Pacific the salmon population levels are of concern. In recent decades the population of wild salmon declined markedly, especially in the North Atlantic populations, which spawn in the waters of western Europe and eastern Canada. The wild salmon in the River systems of Snake and Columbia in the northwestern United States. In Canada, returning the wild salmon supports the commercial, and recreational fisheries, as well as the areas that have diverse wildlife on the coast and around the communities of hundreds of miles inland in the watershed. 

  1. Aquaculture: 

Salmon aquaculture is a major contributor to the world production of farmed finfish, representing about ten billion US dollars annually. Salmon farming is found significant in countries such as Chile, Norway, Scotland, Canada, and the Faroe Islands. Salmon are carnivorous. The salmons are fed a meal from catching the other wild fishes and other marine organisms. 

Another form of salmon production that seems to be safer but is less controllable, they have to raise in the hatcheries until they are old enough to become independent. They are released into rivers in an attempt to increase the salmon population. This process is referred to as ranching.

  1. Life cycle: 

Salmon are known to lay eggs in freshwater streams typically at high latitudes. The eggs hatch into alevin or sac fry. Some species live in saltwater while some are left in freshwater. But the majority of them migrate to oceans for maturation. The fishes spend one to five years in the open ocean waters till they are mature enough to reproduce then they return back to the streams. 

Health Benefits

When we increase the consumption of fatty fishes such as salmon it decreases the risk of getting certain diseases such as obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, etc. It increases the level of good cholesterol in the body. It can also be consumed as an alternative to protein sources such as chicken and beef. Some people use salmon to maintain their diet in order to keep a normal range of BMI.

  • Heart Health: 

In a recent study, which was about omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular diseases, it is suggested that the consumption of salmon will lead you to good heart health. In the dietary pattern, one should include the omega-3 rich salmon twice a week in order to have good heart health.

  • Thyroid Disease: 

According to studies, selenium is required for the healthy function of the thyroid gland. People who have thyroid disease lack selenium and as per the meta-analysis, it is indicated that intake of selenium has increased the levels of thyroid and has been found to have good functioning. 

  • Mental Benefits

The consumption of fish is not good for thyroid and heart health. The other nutrients present in it help to fight against depression. A long-term study which was conducted in the UK has found that pregnant women who have included fish in their diet, babies have higher levels of IQ, better social skills, and communication skills.

The National Institute on Alcohol and Abuse and Alcoholism has shown that the consumption of fish has led to a decrease in aggression and depression in adults.

Even though there are certain health benefits, some tips have to be followed to reduce the risk of foodborne illness:

  • Always buy fresh fish which is refrigerated at 40 degrees celsius.

  • Avoid exposing it to a warmer temperature after shopping.

  • If there is any pungent or fishy smell, then avoid buying that salmon.

Fun Facts about Salmon Fish 

  • A female spring Chinook salmon can carry more than 4,000 eggs.

  • During the time they swim upstream the spawn, they do not consume any kind of food.

  • The chinook salmon has travelled around the world 3,845 km upstream; the spawn is the longest trip made by a salmon.

  • As the salmons travel upstream by spawning most of the time they will get exhausted and die.

Salmons is considered a nutritional powerhouse that provides several health benefits. Consuming two servings per week can help us to meet the requirement of essential nutrients that helps to reduce the risk of several diseases. It is not only considered healthy but also it is very tasty including the fish in our diet helps to improve the quality of the life. Consuming a healthy diet and having a proper eating pattern in order to prevent the risk of diseases.

FAQs on Salmon

1. Define Salmon.

Ans: Salmons are large silver-coloured fish which is consumed as food that lives in both freshwater and marine water. Salmons are the fishes that belong to the Salmonidae family.

2. Why is Salmon Fish considered a Healthy Diet?

Ans: These fishes are rich in antioxidants, an excellent source for high-quality proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The minerals include Vitamin B12, potassium, and selenium. The most important nutrients in the salmon diet are omega-3 fatty acids that have a great contribution to the functioning of the brain and heart.