Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye Salmon


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Sockeye, or red salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), is the most valuable U.S. salmon species. They're prized for their orange-red, rich-tasting meat as well as their roe, which is used to make salmon caviar. Almost 100 percent of the sockeye salmon on the market in the United States comes from U.S. fisheries, operating primarily in Alaska. In fact, the largest harvest of sockeye salmon in the world is in the Bristol Bay area of southwestern Alaska. In Alaska, sockeye salmon populations are not overfished. Scientists actively monitor these populations and fisheries, and managers adjust regulations for these fisheries every year, and often in-season as well, according to changes in salmon abundance and other conservation considerations. Sockeye salmon are found on both sides of the North Pacific Ocean. In North America, sockeye salmon range from Point Hope in northwestern Alaska to the Klamath River in Oregon. In Asia, they’re found from the Anadyr River area of Siberia southward to Hokkaido, Japan.Salmon are born in freshwater. Freshwater streams, estuaries, and associated wetlands provide vital nursery grounds for sockeye salmon. Sockeye migrate from freshwater habitats to the ocean to further grow, feed, and mature. Adult salmon leave the ocean, enter freshwater, and migrate thousands of miles upstream to spawn, usually in the stream of their birth. Some sockeye salmon are not anadromous and spend their entire lives in freshwater. In the Pacific Northwest, non-anadromous sockeye are known as "kokanee." Sockeye salmon have the reddest flesh of the wild salmon species. The raw meat has a bright-red or orange-red color. Cooked meat remains red. Sockeye salmon meat is firm and fatty, making it rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This also gives the meat a rich flavor, which is said to rival the flavor of chinook (king) salmon. Sockeye salmon is sold fresh, frozen, canned, and smoked. (Source: NOAA FishWatch)
More information from NOAA's FishWatch

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