Chum salmon

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

The chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), also known as dog salmon or keta salmon, is a species of anadromous salmonid fish from the genus Oncorhynchus (Pacific salmon) 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. [1]


In Japan, chum salmon is also known as the white salmon (白鮭 シロサケ, shiro sake), autumn salmon (秋鮭 アキサケ, aki sake) or simply "the salmon " (鮭 サケ, sa ke), while historically it was known in kun'yomi as "stone katsura fish" (石桂魚 さけ, sa ke) up until the Meiji period. [2] In Greater China, it is known academically as the "hook-snout salmon" (Chinese :钩吻鲑), but is more often called the damaha fish (simplified Chinese :大马哈鱼; traditional Chinese :大麻哈魚), which is borrowed from dawa ịmaχa, the Nanai name of the fish used by the Hezhe minority in northern Northeast China.


Chum salmon, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 502 kJ (120 kcal)
0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
3.77 g
Saturated 0.84 g
Monounsaturated 1.541 g
Polyunsaturated 0.898 g
20.14 g
Tryptophan 0.226 g
Threonine 0.883 g
Isoleucine 0.928 g
Leucine 1.637 g
Lysine 1.849 g
Methionine 0.596 g
Cystine 0.216 g
Phenylalanine 0.786 g
Tyrosine 0.68 g
Valine 1.037 g
Arginine 1.205 g
Histidine 0.593 g
Alanine 1.218 g
Aspartic acid 2.062 g
Glutamic acid 3.006 g
Glycine 0.967 g
Proline 0.712 g
Serine 0.822 g
Vitamins Quantity
Vitamin A equiv.
30 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.08 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.18 mg
Niacin (B3)
7 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.75 mg
Vitamin B6
0.4 mg
Folate (B9)
4 μg
Vitamin B12
3 μg
Vitamin C
0 mg
Vitamin E
1.09 mg
Minerals Quantity
11 mg
0.55 mg
22 mg
0.015 mg
283 mg
429 mg
50 mg
0.47 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water75.38 g
Alcohol (ethanol) 0 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

The body of the chum salmon is deeper than most salmonid species. In common with other species found in the Pacific, the anal fin has 12 to 20 rays, compared with a maximum of 12 in European species. Chum have an ocean coloration of silvery blue green with some indistinct spotting in a darker shade, and a rather paler belly. When they move into fresh water the color changes to dark olive green and the belly color deepens. When adults are near spawning, they have purple blotchy streaks near the caudal peduncle, darker towards the tail. Spawning males typically grow an elongated snout or kype, their lower fins become tipped with white and they have enlarged teeth. [3] Some researchers speculate these characteristics are used to compete for mates.[ citation needed ]


Adult chum salmon usually weigh from 4.4 to 10.0 kg (9.7 to 22.0 lb) with an average length of 60.0 cm (23.6 in). The all-tackle world record for chum recognized by the IGFA is 35 lb (15.88 kg) and 112.0 cm (44.1 in) caught by Todd Johansson on July 11, 1995 at Edye Pass (a channel between Prescott and Porcher Islands in the Hecate Strait) in the North Coast region of British Columbia; [4] while the all-tackle length world record is 71.0 cm (28.0 in) caught by Vicki D. Martin on October 20, 2021 at Wynoochee River in Washington. [4]

Life cycle

Chum live for an average of 3 to 5 years, and chum in Alaska mature at the age of 5 years.


Male Chum salmon, female Chum salmon and female Pink salmon. Salmon (breeding color).jpg
Male Chum salmon, female Chum salmon and female Pink salmon.

Most chum salmon spawn in small streams and intertidal zones. Some chum travel more than 3,200 km (2,000 mi) up the Yukon River. Chum fry migrate out to sea from March through July, almost immediately after becoming free swimmers. They spend one to three years traveling very long distances in the ocean. These are the last salmon to spawn (November to January) in some regions. In Alaska they are the first to spawn in June and August and are then followed by pink and coho salmon. They die about two weeks after they return to the freshwater to spawn. They utilize the lower tributaries of the watershed, tend to build nests called redd s, really little more than protected depressions in the gravel, in shallow edges of the watercourse and at the tail end of deep pools. The female lays eggs in the redd, the male sprays milt on the eggs, and the female covers the eggs with gravel. The female can lay up to 4000 eggs.[ citation needed ]


Juvenile chum eat zooplankton and insects. Recent studies show that they also eat comb jellies. As adults, they eat smaller fish.


Alaska Peninsula brown bear eating a chum salmon. Alaskan Coastal Brown bear.....11.jpg
Alaska Peninsula brown bear eating a chum salmon.

Chum salmon have the largest natural range of any Pacific salmon. In lesser numbers they migrate thousands of kilometers up the Mackenzie River. Chum are found all around the North Pacific, off the coasts of Japan, Korea, the Russian Far East, British Columbia in Canada, and from Alaska to California in the United States. They undergo the longest migrations within the genus Oncorhynchus, far up the Yukon River in Alaska and Canada, and deep into the Amur River basin in Northeast China and Russia. In the Arctic Ocean they are found in limited numbers from the Laptev Sea to the Beaufort Sea. [5] In North America chum salmon spawn from the Mackenzie River in the Arctic [6] to as far south as the Umpqua River, Oregon, although they were also reported in the San Lorenzo River near Santa Cruz, California in 1915 [7] and the Sacramento River in northern California in the 1950s. [8] In fall 2017 a half dozen chum salmon were counted in Lagunitas Creek about 25 miles (40 km) north of San Francisco, California. [9]

In the open ocean, chum salmon stay fairly high on the water column, rarely diving below 50  m (160  ft ). Their typical swimming depths are 13 m (43 ft) from the surface during the day, and 5 m (16 ft) during the night. [10]

Commercial use and value

Oncorhynchus keta eggs Egg oncorhynchus keta.jpg
Oncorhynchus keta eggs

The registered total harvest of the chum salmon in the North Pacific in 2010 was some 313,000 tons, corresponding to 91 million fish. Half of the catch was from Japan, and about a quarter each from Russia and the United States. The chum salmon harvest was about 34% of the total harvest of all Pacific salmon species by weight. [11]

The chum salmon is the least commercially valuable salmon in North America. Despite being extremely plentiful in Alaska, commercial fishers often choose not to target them because of the low market value. Recent market developments have increased the demand for chum salmon, due to new markets developed from 1984 to 1994 in Japan and Northern Europe.[ citation needed ] They are a traditional source of dried salmon.


Artificially-incubated chum salmon. Salmon newborn.jpg
Artificially-incubated chum salmon.

Two populations of chum salmon have been listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened species. These are the Hood Canal Summer Run population and the Lower Columbia River population. [12] [13]

Susceptibility to diseases

Chum are thought to be fairly resistant to whirling disease, but it is unclear.[ citation needed ]


  1. "Chum Salmon Species Profile, Alaska Department of Fish and Game". Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  2. フジテレビトリビア普及委員会 (2003). トリビアの泉〜へぇの本〜 1. 講談社.
  3. "Chum salmon: Oncorhynchus keta (Walbaum)". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
  4. 1 2 "All Tackle World Records - Salmon, chum (Oncorhynchus keta)". International Game Fish Association.
  5. 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. 68–71. ISBN   978-0-520-24504-4.
  6. Irvine JR, Linn E, Gillespie K, McLeod C, Reist JD (March 2009). Pacific Salmon in Canada's Arctic Draining Rivers, With Emphasis on Those in British Columbia and the Yukon (Report). Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  7. N. B. Scofield (1916). "The humpback and dog salmon taken in San Lorenzo River". California Fish and Game. 2 (1): 41.
  8. Hallock Richard J, Fry Donald H Jr. "Five Species of Salmon, Oncorhynchus, in the Sacramento River, California". California Fish and Game. 53 (1): 5~22. CiteSeerX .
  9. Tiffany Camhi (December 9, 2017). "Marin's Lagunitas Creek Welcomes Unexpected Guests in this Year's Spawning Season". KQED News California Report. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  10. Ishida, Yukimasa (2001). "Vertical movement of a chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta in the western North Pacific Ocean as determined by a depth-recording archival tag". Fisheries Science. 67 (6): 1030–1035. doi:10.1046/j.1444-2906.2001.00358.x.
  11. Annual Statistics 2010: Commercial salmon catch by species and country North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Statistical Yearbook. Retrieved March 16, 2015. The numbers do not include fish taken in Russian waters by non-Russian fleet.
  12. "5-Year Review: Summary & Evaluation of Lower Columbia River Chinook, Columbia River Chum, Lower Columbia River Coho, Lower Columbia River Steelhead" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  13. "5-Year Review: Summary & Evaluation of Puget Sound Chinook, Hood Canal Summer Chum, Puget Sound Steelhead" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-03.

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