Chinook salmon

Last updated

Chinook salmon
Chinook Salmon Adult Male.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Genus: Oncorhynchus
O. tshawytscha
Binomial name
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
(Walbaum, 1792)

The Chinook salmon /ʃɪˈnʊk/ (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is the largest and most valuable species of Pacific salmon in North America, as well as the largest in the genus Oncorhynchus . [2] Its common name is derived from the Chinookan peoples. Other vernacular names for the species include king salmon, Quinnat salmon, Tsumen, spring salmon, chrome hog, Blackmouth, and Tyee salmon. The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name chavycha (чавыча).


Chinook are anadromous fish native to the North Pacific Ocean and the river systems of western North America, ranging from California to Alaska, as well as Asian rivers ranging from northern Japan to the Palyavaam River in the Arctic northeast Siberia. They have been introduced to other parts of the world, including New Zealand, thriving in Lake Michigan Great Lakes of North America and Michigan's western rivers, and Patagonia. A large Chinook is a prized and sought-after catch for a sporting angler. The flesh of the salmon is also highly valued for its dietary nutritional content, which includes high levels of important omega-3 fatty acids. Some populations are endangered; however, many are healthy. The Chinook salmon has not been assessed for the IUCN Red List. According to NOAA the Chinook salmon population along the California coast is declining, from factors such as overfishing, loss of freshwater and estuarine habitat, hydropower development, poor ocean conditions, and hatchery practices. [3]


A male Chinook in his spawning phase OncorhynchusTschawytscha2.jpg
A male Chinook in his spawning phase

Natural range

Historically, the native distribution of Chinook salmon in North America ranged from the Ventura River in California in the south to Kotzebue Sound in Alaska in the north. [4] Recent studies have shown that Chinook salmon are historically native to the Guadalupe River (California) watershed, the southernmost major metropolitan area hosting salmon runs in the United States. [5] Populations have disappeared from large areas where they once flourished, however, [6] shrinking by as much as 40 percent. [7] In some regions, their inland range has been cut off, mainly by dams and habitat alterations: from Southern California, some areas east of the Coast Ranges of California and Oregon, and large areas in the Snake River and upper Columbia River drainage basins. [8] In certain areas like California's Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, it was revealed that extremely low populations of juvenile Chinook salmon (less than 1%) were surviving. [9]

In the western Pacific, the distribution ranges from northern Japan (Hokkaido) in the south to the Arctic Ocean as far as the East Siberian Sea and Palyavaam River in the north. [8] Nevertheless, they are consistently present and the distribution is well known only in Kamchatka. Elsewhere, information is scarce, but they have a patchy presence in the Anadyr River basin and parts of the Chukchi Peninsula. Also in parts of the northern Magadan Oblast near the Shelikhov Gulf and Penzhina Bay stocks might persist, but remain poorly studied. [8]

Introduced populations

In 1967, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources planted Chinook in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to control the alewife, an invasive species of nuisance fish from the Atlantic Ocean. [10] In the 1960s, alewives constituted 90% of the biota in these lakes. Coho salmon had been introduced the year before, and the program was a success. Chinook and Coho salmon thrived on the alewives and spawned in the lakes' tributaries. After this success, Chinook were planted in the other Great Lakes, [11] where sport fishermen prize them for their aggressive behaviour on the hook.

The species has also established itself in Patagonian waters in South America, where both introduced and escaped hatchery fish have colonized rivers and established stable spawning runs. [12] Chinook salmon have been found spawning in headwater reaches of the Rio Santa Cruz, apparently having migrated over 1,000 km (620 mi) from the ocean. The population is thought to be derived from a single stocking of juveniles in the lower river around 1930. [13]

Sporadic efforts to introduce the fish to New Zealand waters in the late 19th century were largely failures and led to no evident establishments. Early ova were imported from the Baird hatchery of the McCloud River in California. [14] Further efforts in the early 20th century were more successful and subsequently led to the establishment of spawning runs in the rivers of Canterbury and North Otago; Rangitata River, the Ōpihi River, the Ashburton River / Hakatere, the Rakaia River, the Waimakariri River, the Hurunui River, and the Waiau Uwha River. [15] The success of the latter introductions is thought to be partly attributable to the use of ova from autumn-run populations as opposed to ova from spring-run populations used in the first attempts. [14] Whilst other salmon have also been introduced into New Zealand, only Chinook salmon (or King salmon as it is known locally in New Zealand) have established sizeable pelagic runs.


A pair of chinook caught in the ocean King salmon by Nick Longrich.jpg
A pair of chinook caught in the ocean
Chinook salmon tail, showing distinctive combination of black spots and silver King salmon tail by Nick Longrich.jpg
Chinook salmon tail, showing distinctive combination of black spots and silver

The Chinook is blue-green, red, or purple on the back and top of the head, with silvery sides and white ventral surfaces. It has black spots on its tail and the upper half of its body. Although spots are seen on the tail in pink salmon, and silver on the tail in coho and chum salmon, Chinook are unique among the Pacific salmon in combining black spots and silver on the tail. Another distinctive feature is a black gum line that is present in both salt and freshwater. [16] Adult fish range in size from 24 to 36 in (61 to 91 cm), but may be up to 58 in (150 cm) in length; they average 10 to 50 lb (4.5 to 22.7 kg), but may reach 130 lb (59 kg). The meat can be either pink or white in color, depending on what the salmon have been feeding on.

Chinook salmon are the largest of the Pacific salmon. In the Kenai River of Alaska, mature Chinook averaged 16.8 kg (37 lb). [17] The current sport-caught world record, 97.25 lb (44.11 kg), was caught on May 17, 1985, in the Kenai River. The commercial catch world record is 126 lb (57 kg) caught near Rivers Inlet, British Columbia, in the late 1970s. [18]

Life cycle

Fertilized Chinook eggs Winter-run Chinook salmon 2017-08-09 (25822724367).jpg
Fertilized Chinook eggs

Chinook may spend one to eight years in the ocean (averaging from three to four years) [19] before returning to their home rivers to spawn. The salmon undergo radical morphological changes as they prepare for the spawning event ahead. Salmon lose the silvery blue they had as ocean fish, and their color darkens, sometimes with a radical change in hue. Salmon are sexually dimorphic, and the male salmon develop canine-like teeth and their jaws develop a pronounced curve or hook, called a "kype". [20] Studies have shown that larger and more dominant male salmon have a reproductive advantage as female Chinook are often more aggressive toward smaller males. [21]

Chinook spawn in larger and deeper waters than other salmon species and can be found on the spawning redds (nests) from September to December. The female salmon may lay her eggs in four to five nesting pockets within a redd. After laying eggs, females guard the redd from four to 25 days before dying, while males seek additional mates. Chinook eggs hatch 90 to 150 days after deposition, depending upon water temperature. Egg deposits are timed to ensure the young salmon fry emerge during an appropriate season for survival and growth. Fry and parr (young fish) usually stay in fresh water 12 to 18 months before traveling downstream to estuaries, where they remain as smolts for several months. Some Chinooks return to the fresh water one or two years earlier than their counterparts and are referred to as "jack" salmon. "Jack" salmon are typically less than 24 inches (61 cm) long but are sexually mature.

Chinook salmon (male)
Lake Washington Ship Canal Fish Ladder pamphlet - ocean phase Chinook.jpg
Lake Washington Ship Canal Fish Ladder pamphlet - male freshwater phase Chinook.jpg
Freshwater phase, showing more curved jaws and change in colour

The Yukon River has the longest freshwater migration route of any salmon, over 3,000 km (1,900 mi) from its mouth in the Bering Sea to spawning grounds upstream of Whitehorse, Yukon. [22] Since Chinook rely on fat reserves for energy upon entering fresh water, commercial fish caught here are highly prized for their unusually high levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, the high cost of harvest and transport from this rural area limits its affordability. The highest in elevation Chinook migrate to spawn is in the Upper Salmon River and Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. These fish travel over 7,000 feet (2,100 m) in elevation, and over 900 miles (1,400 km), in their migration through eight dams and reservoirs on the Columbia and Lower Snake Rivers.[ citation needed ]

Chinook eat insects, amphipods, and other crustaceans while young, and primarily other fish when older. Young salmon feed in streambeds for a short period until they are strong enough to journey out into the ocean and acquire more food. Chinook juveniles divide into two types: ocean-type and stream-type. Ocean-type Chinook migrate to salt water in their first year. Stream-type salmon spend one full year in fresh water before migrating to the ocean. After a few years in the ocean, adult salmon, then large enough to escape most predators, return to their original streambeds to mate. Chinook can have extended lifespans, where some fish spend one to five years in the ocean, reaching age eight. More northerly populations tend to have longer lives.

School of Chinook Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha.jpg
School of Chinook

Salmon need adequate spawning habitat. Clean, cool, oxygenated, sediment-free fresh water is essential for egg development. Chinook use larger sediment (gravel) sizes for spawning than other Pacific salmon. Riparian vegetation and woody debris help juvenile salmon by providing cover and maintaining low water temperatures.

Chinook also need healthy ocean habitats. Juvenile salmon grow in clean, productive estuarine environments and gain the energy for migration. Later, they change physiologically to live in salt water. They rely on eelgrass and seaweeds for camouflage (protection from predators), shelter, and foraging habitat as they make their way to the open ocean. Adult fish need a rich, open ocean habitat to acquire the strength needed to travel back upstream, escape predators, and reproduce before dying. In his book King of Fish, David Montgomery writes, "The reserves of fish at sea are important to restocking rivers disturbed by natural catastrophes." Thus, it is vitally important for the fish to be able to reach the oceans (without man-made obstructions such as dams), so they can grow into healthy adult fish to sustain the species.

The bodies of water for salmon habitat must be clean and oxygenated. One sign of high productivity and growth rate in the oceans is the level of algae. Increased algal levels lead to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the water, which transfers into living organisms, fostering underwater plants and small organisms, which salmon eat. [23] Algae can filter high levels of toxins and pollutants. Thus, it is essential for algae and other water-filtering agents to not be destroyed in the oceans because they contribute to the well-being of the food chain.

Chinook salmon moving upstream Chinook salmon moving upstream.jpg
Chinook salmon moving upstream

With some populations endangered, precautions are necessary to prevent overfishing and habitat destruction, including appropriate management of hydroelectric and irrigation projects. If too few fish remain because of fishing and land management practices, salmon have more difficulty reproducing. When one of these factors is compromised, affected stock can decline. One Seattle Times article states, "Pacific salmon have disappeared from 40 percent of their historic range outside Alaska," and concludes it is imperative for people to realize the needs of salmon and to try not to contribute to destructive practices that harm salmon runs. [7]

In the Pacific Northwest, the summer runs of especially large Chinook once common (before dams and overfishing led to declines) were known as June hogs.

A Chinook's birthplace and later evolution can be tracked by looking at its otolith (ear) bone. The bone can record the chemical composition of the water the fish had lived in just like a tree's growth rings provide hints on dry and wet years. The bone is built with the chemical signature of the environment that hosted the fish. Researchers were able to tell where different individuals of Chinook were born and lived in the first year of their lives. Testing was done by measuring the strontium in the bones. Strontium can accurately show researchers the exact location and time of a fish swimming in a river. [24]

Fishing industry

Global harvest in thousand tonnes as reported by the FAO, 1950-2010 Chinook total harvest.png
Global harvest in thousand tonnes as reported by the FAO, 1950–2010

Wild capture

Wild capture in thousand tonnes as reported by the FAO, 1950-2010 Chinook wild capture.png
Wild capture in thousand tonnes as reported by the FAO, 1950–2010
Wild capture as reported by the FAO for 2010 Chinook wild capture 2010.png
Wild capture as reported by the FAO for 2010

The total North Pacific fisheries harvest of the Chinook salmon in 2010 was some 1.4 million fish, corresponding to 7,000 tonnes; 1.1 million of the fish were captured in the United States, others were divided by Canada and Russia. The share of Chinook salmon from the total commercial Pacific salmon harvest was less than 1% by weight, and only some 0.3% of the number of fish. [26] The trend has been down in the captures from the pre-1990 times, when the total harvest was around 25,000 tonnes. Global production has, however, remained at a stable level because of increased aquaculture. [25]


Aquaculture production as reported by the FAO for 2010 Chinook aquaculture production 2010.png
Aquaculture production as reported by the FAO for 2010

The world's largest producer and market supplier of the Chinook salmon is New Zealand. Marketed as King salmon, in 2009, New Zealand exported 5,088 tonnes of salmon equating to a value of NZ$61 million in export earnings. For the year ended March 2011, this amount had increased to NZ$85 million. [27] [28] New Zealand accounts for about half of the global production of Chinook salmon, and about half of New Zealand's production is exported. Japan is New Zealand's largest export market, with stock also being supplied to other countries of the Pacific Rim, including Australia. [29]

Farming of the species in New Zealand began in the 1970s, when hatcheries were initially set up to enhance and support wild fish stocks with the first commercial operations initiating in 1976. [14] After some opposition against their establishment by societal groups, including anglers, the first sea cage farm was established in 1983 at Big Glory Bay in Stewart Island by British Petroleum NZ Ltd. [14] [29] Today, the salmon are hatched in land-based hatcheries (several of which exist) and transferred to sea cages or freshwater farms, where they are grown out to harvestable size of 3–4 kilograms (6.6–8.8 lb). The broodstock for the farms is usually selected from existing farm stock or sometimes sourced from wild populations. Eggs and milt are stripped manually from sexually mature salmon and incubated under conditions replicating the streams and rivers where the salmon would spawn naturally (around 10–12 °C or 50–54 °F). After hatching, the baby salmon are typically grown to smolt stage (around six-months of age) before they are transferred to the sea cages or ponds. [28] Most sea cage farming occurs in the Marlborough Sounds, Stewart Island, and Akaroa Harbour, while freshwater operations in Canterbury, Otago, and Tasman use ponds, raceways, and hydrocanals for growout operations. [27] Low stocking densities, ranging between less than 1 kg/m3 and around 25 kg/m3 (depending on the life stage of the salmon) and the absence of disease in the fish means New Zealand farmers do not need to use antibiotics or vaccines to maintain the health of their salmon stocks. The salmon are fed food pellets of fish meal specially formulated for Chinook salmon (typical proportions of the feed are: 45% protein, 22% fat, and 14% carbohydrate plus ash and water) and contain no steroids or other growth enhancers. [27] [28]

Aquaculture production in thousand tonnes as reported by the FAO, 1950-2010 Chinook aquaculture production.png
Aquaculture production in thousand tonnes as reported by the FAO, 1950–2010

Regulations and monitoring programmes ensure salmon are farmed in a sustainable manner. The planning and approval process for new salmon farms in New Zealand considers the farm's potential environmental effects, its effects on fishing activities (if it is a marine farm), and any possible cultural and social effects. In the interest of fish welfare, a number of New Zealand salmon farming operations anaesthetise salmon before slaughter using Aqui-S™, an organically based anaesthetic developed in New Zealand that is safe for use in food and that has been favourably reported on by the British Humane Slaughter Association. In recognition of the sustainable, environmentally conscious practices, the New Zealand salmon farming industry has been acknowledged as the world's greenest by the Global Aquaculture Performance Index. [30]

Chile is the only country other than New Zealand currently producing significant quantities of farmed Chinook salmon. [25] The United States has not produced farmed Chinook in commercial quantities since 1994. [25] In Canada, most commercial Chinook salmon farming ceased by 2009. [31]


Nine populations of Chinook salmon are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as either threatened or endangered. [32] The Snake River fall-run population is being considered for delisting. [33] Fisheries in the U.S. and Canada are limited by impacts to weak and endangered salmon runs. The fall and late-fall runs in the Central Valley population in California is a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) species of concern.

In April 2008, commercial fisheries in both Oregon and California were closed because of the low population of Chinook salmon present. The low population is being blamed on the collapse of the Sacramento River run, one of the biggest south of the Columbia. [34] In April 2009 California again canceled the season. [35] The Pacific Fishery Management Council's goal for the Sacramento River run is an escapement total (fish that return to freshwater spawn areas and hatcheries) of 122,000–180,000 fish. The 2007 escapement was estimated at 88,000, and the 2008 estimate was 66,000 fish. [36] Scientists from universities and federal, state, and tribal agencies concluded the 2004 and 2005 broods were harmed by poor ocean conditions in 2005 and 2006, in addition to "a long-term, steady degradation of the freshwater and estuarine environment." Such conditions included weak upwelling, warm sea surface temperatures, and low densities of food. [36]

In Oregon, the 2010 spring Chinook run was forecast to increase by up to 150% over 2009 populations, growing from 200,000 to over 500,000, making this the largest run in recorded history. Lower temperatures in 2008 North Pacific waters brought in fatter plankton, which, along with greater outflows of Columbia River water, fed the resurgent populations. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife estimated 80% of them were hatchery-born. Chinook runs in other habitats have not recovered proportionately. [37]

In April 2016 Coleman National Fish Hatchery outside of Red Bluff, California, released 12 million juvenile Chinook salmon, with many salmon being tagged in order to be monitored. The release was done in hopes to help restore the salmon population of Battle Creek. [38] [39]

In June 2021, the California State Water Resources Control Board approved a plan by the United States Bureau of Reclamation to release water from Lake Shasta for irrigation use, which "significantly" increased the risk of extinction of winter-run Chinook in the Sacramento River. [40]

Lake Michigan

Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan are sought after by tourists enjoying chartered fishing trips. [41] A 2016 survey of Wisconsin anglers found they would on average pay $140 for a trip to catch Chinook salmon, $90 for lake trout, and $180 for walleye. [42] Should the Chinook salmon fishery collapse and be replaced with a native lake trout fishery, the economic value would decrease by 80%. [43]

Recent data

Since the later 1970s, the size and age range of Chinook salmon has been declining. [44] Studies along the Northwest pacific coast from Alaska to California during the years of 1977 to 2015 have examined about 1.5 million Chinook salmon, and have seen declining trends in age and size. [44] Ocean-5 Chinook, which means the fish has spent five years in the ocean, have declined from up to 3-5% of the population, to being almost nothing. [44] Ocean-4 chinook are also seeing a rapid decline in their population as well. [44] What this means is that Chinook are not living as long as they used to. This trend has mostly been seen in Alaska, but also Oregon and Washington. [44]

There is also new trends that have been seen regarding the size of Ocean-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 from 1975 to 2015. The size of Chinook who have spent one and two years in the ocean has been rising, while the size of Chinook of three to five years has been declining. [44] The size increase was seen mainly in hatchery fish, not wild, and that hatchery fish were often larger than wild, but the decrease was seen in both types of populations. [44] There are factors that have been discovered that have influenced the size of the Chinook. This includes, but not limited to, the years they spent in freshwater before migrating to the ocean, the time of year they were caught, what season run they participated in, and where they were caught. [44] However, what is causing these negative trends is still not fully known or researched. Some possibilities can be climate change, pollution, and fishing practices. [44]

Juvenile Chinook salmon being measured for research Juvenile Chinook salmon being measured.jpg
Juvenile Chinook salmon being measured for research

In California specifically, Chinook populations in the rivers have been on a decline. [45] Chinook that are migratory are already more vulnerable, and the California drought made them even more vulnerable. A study was done specifically on the California Delta over three years and it was discovered that the Chinook salmon had a low survival rate for different reasons, and as a result the Chinook salmon population here has been on a decline. [45] Some of the factors affecting the populations include the route used during migration, drought conditions, the amount of snowmelt, and infrastructure that affects the flow of water (like dams and levees). [45] Each of these factors has played a significant impact on Chinook survival rates as most have made it more challenging for Chinook to travel from their home, to the ocean and back. The fluctuation of water depth as well as temperature has made this more challenging, and as a result Chinook populations are declining. The rivers or streams the Chinook are in highly impact their survival rates, as some like the Chinook in the Fraser river only have a 30% survival rate. [45] More studies and actions are needed to make an impact on the survival rates of the Chinook. Due to many of these reasons The National Wildlife Federation has listed Chinook populations as endangered or threatened. [46]

Cultural aspects

Native American men with large salmon Four unidentified young Indian men with large salmon. - NARA - 297544.tif
Native American men with large salmon

The Chinook salmon is spiritually and culturally prized among certain First Nations peoples. For tribes on the Northwest coast, Salmon were an important part of their culture, for spiritual reasons and for food. [47] Many celebrate the first spring Chinook caught each year with "first-salmon ceremonies". While salmon fishing is still important economically for many tribal communities, the Chinook harvest is typically the most valuable. The relation to salmon for the tribes in this area are similar to how other tribes relied more on buffalo for food, and have many legends and a spiritual ties to them. [47]

Chinook salmon were described and enthusiastically eaten by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Lewis wrote that, when fresh, they tasted better than any other fish he had ever eaten. They did not particularly like dried or "pounded" salmon. [48] Lewis and Clark knew about Pacific salmon but had never seen one. The Western world had known about Pacific salmon since the late 18th century. Maritime fur traders and explorers, such as George Vancouver, frequently acquired salmon by trade with the indigenous people of the Northwest coast. [49] Lewis and Clark first encountered Chinook salmon as a gift from Chief Cameahwait, on August 13, 1805, near Lemhi Pass. Tasting it convinced Lewis they had crossed the continental divide. [50]

In Oregon, the Klamath tribes have lived along the Klamath river and the Chinook salmon have been a large part of their lives. [51] An Indian legend of a tribe on the Klamath river describes how the construction of the dam has hurt the fish population and that the impact on them has gone unnoticed, and the destruction of the dam is what has brought back their food supply and made them happy again. [51] The Klamath tribe had a similar legend that has illustrated the importance of not messing up the Chinook salmon migration. [51] The legend described three Skookums which can be related to the three Dams on the Klamath river in California. [51] It has been known that the creation of dams has negatively impacted the lives of many Native American Indians by disrupting their food supply and flow of water. The impact of the salmon migration has been seen by not only tribal members but others as well and as a result progress is slowly being made to help restore the salmon habitats along the river [51] It has been known that for many tribes Chinook salmon have played an important role, spiritually and physically.

Other tribes including the Nuxalk, Kwakiutl, and Kyuquot relied primarily on Chinook to eat [52] Known as the "king salmon" in Alaska for its large size and flavorful flesh, the Chinook is the state fish of this state [53] and of Oregon. [54]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salmon</span> Family of fish related to trout

Salmon is the common name for several species of ray-finned fish in the family Salmonidae. Other fish in the same family include trout, char, grayling, and whitefish. Salmon are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Many species of salmon have been introduced into non-native environments such as the Great Lakes of North America and Patagonia in South America. Salmon are intensively farmed in many parts of the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salmon run</span> Time of migration of salmon fish

The salmon run is the time of the year when salmon, which have migrated from the ocean to fresh water, swim against the stream to the upper reaches of rivers, where they spawn on gravel beds. After spawning, all species of Pacific salmon and most Atlantic salmon die, and the salmon life cycle starts over again with the new generation of hatchlings. The annual run can be a major event for predators such as grizzly bears, bald eagles and sport fishermen. Most salmon species migrate during the autumn.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rainbow trout</span> Fresh-water species of fish

The rainbow trout is a trout and species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is an anadromous (sea-run) form of the coastal rainbow trout(O. m. irideus) or Columbia River redband trout (O. m. gairdneri) that usually returns to fresh water to spawn after living two to three years in the ocean. Freshwater forms that have been introduced into the Great Lakes and migrate into tributaries to spawn are also called steelhead.

Steelhead, or occasionally steelhead trout, is the common name of the anadromous form of the coastal rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus m. irideus) or redband trout (O. m. gairdneri). Steelhead are native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific basin in Northeast Asia and North America. Like other sea-run trout and salmon, steelhead spawn in freshwater, smolts migrate to the ocean to forage for several years and adults return to their natal streams to spawn. Steelhead are iteroparous, although survival is approximately 10–20%.

Chum salmon Species of fish

The chum salmon, also known as dog salmon or keta salmon, is a species of anadromous salmonid fish from the genus Oncorhynchus native to the coastal rivers of the North Pacific and the Beringian Arctic, and is often marketed under the trade name silverbrite salmon in North America. The English name "chum salmon" comes from the Chinook Jargon term tzum, meaning "spotted" or "marked"; while keta in the scientific name comes from Russian, which in turn comes from the Evenki language of Eastern Siberia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sockeye salmon</span> Species of fish

The sockeye salmon, also called red salmon, kokanee salmon, blueback salmon, or simply sockeye, is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. This species is a Pacific salmon that is primarily red in hue during spawning. They can grow up to 84 cm in length and weigh 2.3 to 7 kg (5–15 lb). Juveniles remain in freshwater until they are ready to migrate to the ocean, over distances of up to 1,600 km (1,000 mi). Their diet consists primarily of zooplankton. Sockeye salmon are semelparous, dying after they spawn. Some populations, referred to as kokanee, do not migrate to the ocean and live their entire lives in fresh water.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lake Oroville</span> Reservoir in Butte County, California, U.S.

Lake Oroville is a reservoir formed by the Oroville Dam impounding the Feather River, located in Butte County, northern California. The lake is situated 5 miles (8 km) northeast of the city of Oroville, within the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Known as the second-largest reservoir in California, Lake Oroville is treated as a keystone facility within the California State Water Project by storing water, providing flood control, recreation, freshwater releases assist in controlling the salinity intrusion into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and protecting fish and wildlife.

Pink salmon Species of fish

Pink salmon or humpback salmon is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. It is the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon. The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name for this species gorbúša (горбуша), which literally means humpie.

Coho salmon Species of fish

The coho salmon is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family and one of the five Pacific salmon species. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or "silvers". The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name kizhuch (кижуч).

<i>Oncorhynchus</i> Genus of fishes

Oncorhynchus is a genus of fish in the family Salmonidae; it contains the Pacific salmon and Pacific trout. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek ὄγκος + ῥύγχος, in reference to the hooked snout that the males develop during mating season.

Puget Sound salmon recovery is a collective effort of federal, state and local authorities and non-profit coalitions of universities, scientists, business and industry aimed at restoring Pacific salmon and anadromous forms of Pacific trout (Oncorhynchus) within the Puget Sound region. The Puget Sound lies within the native range of the Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus) and two sea-run forms of Pacific trout, the coastal rainbow trout or steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. Populations of Oncorhynchus have seen significant declines since the middle of the 19th century due to over fishing, habitat loss, pollution and disease. Salmon species residing in or migrating through the Puget Sound to spawning streams include Chum, Coho, Chinook, Sockeye, and Pink salmon. Pacific salmon require freshwater rivers for spawning and most major tributaries of the Puget Sound have salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout spawning runs.

Baker River (Washington) River in Washington, United States

The Baker River is an approximately 30-mile (48 km), southward-flowing tributary of the Skagit River in northwestern Washington in the United States. It drains an area of the high North Cascades in the watershed of Puget Sound north of Seattle, and east of Mount Baker. With a watershed of approximately 270 square miles (700 km2) in a complex of deep valleys partially inside North Cascades National Park, it is the last major tributary of the Skagit before the larger river reaches its mouth on Skagit Bay. The river flows through Concrete, Washington, near its mouth and has two hydroelectric dams owned by Puget Sound Energy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coastal cutthroat trout</span> Subspecies of fish

The coastal cutthroat trout, also known as the sea-run cutthroat trout, blue-back trout or harvest trout, is one of the several subspecies of cutthroat trout found in Western North America. The coastal cutthroat trout occurs in four distinct forms. A semi-anadromous or sea-run form is the most well known. Freshwater forms occur in both large and small rivers and streams and lake environments. The native range of the coastal cutthroat trout extends south from the southern coastline of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska to the Eel River in Northern California. Coastal cutthroat trout are resident in tributary streams and rivers of the Pacific basin and are rarely found more than 100 miles (160 km) from the ocean.

Alaska salmon fishery

The Alaska salmon fishery is a managed fishery that supports the annual harvest of five species of wild Pacific Salmon for commercial fishing, sport fishing, subsistence by Alaska Native communities, and personal use by local residents. The salmon harvest in Alaska is the largest in North America and represents about 80% of the total wild-caught catch, with harvests from Canada and the Pacific Northwest representing the remainder In 2017 over 200 million salmon were caught in Alaskan waters by commercial fishers, representing $750 million in exvessel value. Salmon fishing is a nearly ubiquitous activity across Alaska, however the most valuable salmon fisheries are in the Bristol Bay, Prince William Sound and Southeast regions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salmon conservation</span>

The survival of wild salmon relies heavily on them having suitable habitat for spawning and rearing of their young. This habitat is the main concern for conservationists. Salmon habitat can be degraded by many different factors including land development, timber harvest, or resource extraction. These threats bring about the traditional methods of protecting the salmon, but a new movement aims to protect the habitats before they require intervention.

Aquaculture of salmonids Farming and harvesting of salmonids under controlled conditions

The aquaculture of salmonids is the farming and harvesting of salmonids under controlled conditions for both commercial and recreational purposes. Salmonids, along with carp, and tilapia are the three most important fish species in aquaculture. The most commonly commercially farmed salmonid is the Atlantic salmon. In the U.S. Chinook salmon and rainbow trout are the most commonly farmed salmonids for recreational and subsistence fishing through the National Fish Hatchery System. In Europe, brown trout are the most commonly reared fish for recreational restocking. Commonly farmed nonsalmonid fish groups include tilapia, catfish, sea bass, and bream.

Boise Creek River in California, United States

Boise Creek is a stream in Humboldt County, California, United States. From its origin on Orleans Mountain it flows 8.5 miles to join the Klamath River about 2.25 miles southeast of Orleans, California. The creek lies within the Six Rivers National Forest and is part of the Lower Klamath River Watershed.

Environmental issues with salmon

Salmon population levels are of concern in the Atlantic and in some parts of the Pacific. Salmon are typically anadromous - they rear and grow in freshwater, migrate to the ocean to reach sexual maturity, and then return to freshwater to spawn. Determining how environmental stressors and climate change will affect these fisheries is challenging due to their lives split between fresh and saltwater. Environmental variables like warming temperatures and habitat loss are detrimental to salmon abundance and survival. Other human influenced effects on salmon like overfishing and gillnets, sea lice from farm raised salmon, and competition from hatchery released salmon have negative effects as well.

Carl B. Schreck is an American biologist specializing in comparative endocrinology of fishes, best known for his contributions to our knowledge of stress in fish. Since 1975 he has been a professor at Oregon State University, holding the position of senior scientist and leader of the Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prickly sculpin</span> Species of fish

Cottus asper is a species of fish in the sculpin family known by the common name prickly sculpin. It is native to the river drainages of the Pacific Slope of North America from Seward, Alaska south to the Ventura River of Southern California. It extends east of the Continental Divide in the Peace River of British Columbia. It has also been introduced to several reservoirs in Southern California.


  1. O tshawytscha
  2. Ohlberger, Jan; Ward, Eric J; Schindler, Daniel E; Lewis, Bert (2018-02-27). "Demographic changes in Chinook salmon across the Northeast Pacific Ocean". Fish and Fisheries. 19 (3): 533–546. doi:10.1111/faf.12272. ISSN   1467-2960.
  3. "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. North Central California Coast Recovery Domain" (PDF). National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Region. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  4. Robert Behnke (6 July 2010). Trout and Salmon of North America. Simon and Schuster. ISBN   978-1-4516-0355-2 . Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  5. Simons, Eric (24 June 2020). "Did Salmon Always Live in San José?". Bay Nature Magazine. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  6. "Salmon: Background". Pacific Fishery Management Council. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
  7. 1 2 Cameron, Mindy (2002-08-18). "Salmon Return; A Public Conversation About the Future of a Northwest Icon". The Seattle Times. Seattle, Washington.
  8. 1 2 3 Augerot, Xanthippe; Foley, Dana Nadel (2005). Atlas of Pacific salmon: the first map-based status assessment of salmon in the North Pacific. University of California Press. pp. 80–83. ISBN   978-0-520-24504-4.
  9. Demetras, Nicholas (February 3, 2016). "Development of underwater recorders to quantify predation of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in a river environment" (PDF). Fishery Bulletin. 114 (2): 179–185. doi: 10.7755/fb.114.2.5 . Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  10. "Chinook Salmon". Retrieved 20 May 2022. it wasn't until Michigan planted them in 1967 that they became established.
  11. Spring, Barbara. The Dynamic Great Lakes,(p. 48) ISBN   1-58851-731-4, Independence Books, 2001
  12. Riva Rossi, CM; Pascual, MA; Aedo Marchant, E; Basso, N; Ciancio, JE; Mezga, B; Fernández, DA; Ernst-Elizalde, B (28 Nov 2012). "The invasion of Patagonia by Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): inferences from mitochondrial DNA patterns". Genetica. Grupo de Estudios de Salmónidos Anádromos (GESA), Centro Nacional Patagónico (CENPAT-CONICET). 140 (10–12): 439–53. doi:10.1007/s10709-012-9692-3. PMID   23188114. S2CID   2126758.
  13. Williams, Richard Nicholas (2006). Return to the river: restoring salmon to the Columbia River. Academic Press. p. 187. ISBN   978-0-12-088414-8 . Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  14. 1 2 3 4 McDowell, R.M. (1994) Gamekeepers for the Nation. Chapter 18. Canterbury University Press: Christchurch.
  15. McDowall, R. M. (1994). The origins of New Zealand's chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Marine Fisheries Review, 1/1/1994.
  16. "Marine saltwater data" (PDF). 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-25. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  17. Burger, C. V., Wilmot, R. L., & Wangaard, D. B. (1985). Comparison of spawning areas and times for two runs of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Kenai River, Alaska. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 42(4), 693-700.
  18. Scott and Crossman. 1985. Freshwater Fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada. page 175. ISBN   0-660-10239-0
  19. "CHINOOK SALMON FACTSBlue Face Baby". Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 1996-12-16
  20. West-Eberhard, M.J. (2003). Developmental Plasticity and Evolution. Oxford University Press.
  21. Baxter, Randall (May 1991). Chinook Salmon Spawning Behavior : Evidence for Size-dependent Male Spawning Success and Female Mate Choice (PDF). Humboldt State University. pp. iii. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  22. "Chinook | Yukon River Panel".
  23. Klinger, Terrie. Lecture. 15 April 2005. What Defines the Pacific Northwest Marine Realm Ecologically and Geographically? University of Washington; Seattle, WA.
  24. "CHINOOK SALMON HOLD TINY ARCHIVES WITH THEIR ENTIRE LIFE HISTORY". 2015-05-18. Archived from the original on 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Fisheries and Aquaculture Department Statistics". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations . Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  26. Annual Statistics 2010: Commercial salmon catch by species and country North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Statistical Yearbook. Retrieved 2015 March 16. The statistics do not include fish taken in Russian waters by non-Russian fleet.
  27. 1 2 3 "Aquaculture New Zealand Industry Overview". Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  28. 1 2 3 "AQUACULTURE.GOVT.NZ/Industry development" . Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  29. 1 2 "The NZ Salmon Farmer's Association Inc". The association of the New Zealand Salmon farming industry. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  30. "Global Aquaculture Performance Index". Seafood Ecology Research, University of Victoria, Canada. Archived from the original on October 11, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  31. Statistics Canada. "Aquaculture Activity in Canada". Archived from the original on 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  32. "Chinook Salmon - Protected". NOAA Fisheries. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  33. NMFS. Listing Endangered or Threatened Species; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Delist the Snake River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon Evolutionarily Significant Unit.Federal Register v80, (April 22, 2015), 22468-22472.
  34. Blankship, Donna. Salmon Fishing Banned Along U.S. West Coast. National Geographic. April, 2008.
  35. David Gorn. "What's Killing California's Salmon?". NPR.
  36. 1 2 Lindley, S. T.; Grimes, C. B.; Mohr, M. S.; Peterson, W.; Stein, J.; Anderson, J. T.; Botsford, L. W.; Bottom, D. L.; Busack, C. A.; Collier, T. K.; Ferguson, J.; Garza, J. C.; Grover, A. M.; Hankin, D. G.; Kope, R. G.; Lawson, P. W.; Low, A.; MacFarlane, R. B.; Moore, K.; Palmer-Zwahlen, M.; Schwing, F. B.; Smith, J.; Tracy, C.; Webb, R.; Wells, B. K.; Williams, T. H. (2009), What caused the Sacramento River fall Chinook stock collapse? (PDF), Pacific Fisheries Management Council, archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-03, retrieved 2009-11-23
  37. Millman, Joel (January 21, 2010). "Fish Boom Makes Splash in Oregon". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  38. Anderson. "Millions Of Chinook Salmon Released Into Northern California Waterways". CBS. CBS. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  39. Salmon Snapshots / Battle Creek / 2014 Population
  40. "Final plan for water releases into Sacramento River could kill up to 88% of endangered salmon run". 16 June 2021.
  41. It’s No Fish Tale… Charter Boat Captain Is Living His Dream by Joel Waldinger, November 5, 2015, Wisconsin Life, PBS
  42. Wisconsin Sea Grant documents value of recreational fishing in Lake Michigan by Aaron R. Conklin, Wisconsin Sea Grant, July 10, 2017
  43. Can Native Species Compete with Valuable Exotics? Measuring Willingness to Pay for Recreational Fishing in Lake Michigan by Raynor, Jennifer and Phaneuf, Daniel, Presentation for the 2018 International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade
  44. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Ohlberger, Jan; Ward, Eric J; Schindler, Daniel E; Lewis, Bert (2018-02-27). "Demographic changes in Chinook salmon across the Northeast Pacific Ocean". Fish and Fisheries. 19 (3): 533–546. doi:10.1111/faf.12272. ISSN   1467-2960.
  45. 1 2 3 4 Singer, Gabriel P.; Chapman, Eric D.; Ammann, Arnold J.; Klimley, A. Peter; Rypel, Andrew L.; Fangue, Nann A. (2020-05-01). "Historic drought influences outmigration dynamics of juvenile fall and spring-run Chinook Salmon". Environmental Biology of Fishes. 103 (5): 543–559. doi:10.1007/s10641-020-00975-8. ISSN   1573-5133.
  46. "Chinook Salmon". The National Wildlife Federation. April 19, 2022. Retrieved April 19, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  47. 1 2 "Native American Indian Salmon Legends, Meaning and Symbolism from the Myths of Many Tribes". Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  48. Isserman, Maurice (2005). Across America: the Lewis and Clark expedition. Infobase Publishing. pp. 115, 133, 135. ISBN   978-0-8160-5256-1 . Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  49. Bruce Alden Cox (1987). Native people, native lands: Canadian Indians, Inuit and Métis. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 174. ISBN   978-0-88629-062-7 . Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  50. Elin Woodger; Brandon Toropov (2004). Encyclopedia of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Infobase Publishing. p. 138. ISBN   978-0-8160-4781-9 . Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  51. 1 2 3 4 5 Hamilton, John B.; Rondorf, Dennis W.; Tinniswood, William R.; Leary, Ryan J.; Mayer, Tim; Gavette, Charleen; Casal, Lynne A. (2016-09-22). "The Persistence and Characteristics of Chinook Salmon Migrations to the Upper Klamath River Prior to Exclusion by Dams". Oregon Historical Quarterly. 117 (3): 326–378.
  52. "Salmon | Traditional Animal Foods of Indigenous Peoples of Northern North America - Animals - Fish - Searun Fish". Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  53. "Alaska State Fish". Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  54. "Oregon State Fish". Retrieved 2014-02-02.

Further reading