Salmon

The common name given to the species of ray-finned fish in the family Salmonidae is salmon, with other fish in the same family including trout, char, grayling, and whitefish. The native habitat for salmon are tributaries in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In more recent years, salmon have been introduced into non-native environments for them, such as the Great Lakes in North America and Patagonia in South America, where they have begun to thrive and adapt to their new homes well.

Typically, salmon are anadromous; they hatch in freshwater before migrating to the saltwater ocean and finally returning back to freshwater to reproduce. There are some known species of salmon which are restricted to freshwater throughout their lives, but these are not as common. For years, it was thought to be just folklore that salmon had to return to the exact spot they were hatched to reproduce, and although modern science has somewhat confirmed this, it is not always precise. A portion of salmon have been found to stray and breed in different freshwater systems from the one they hatched in, with the exact percentage depending on the species of salmon.

There are many species within the salmon family, each with their own habitats and distributions across the world. Atlantic salmon are undoubtedly one of the most common of all salmon varieties and reproduce in the northern rivers on both of the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean. Within the Atlantic salmon family, there exists a number which remain landlocked, living in lakes in eastern North America and in Northern Europe. They are the same species as the Atlantic salmon but have evolved a non-migratory life cycle, which is maintained even when they do have access to the ocean.

Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon or blackmouth salmon in the United States, are the largest of all the Pacific salmon, frequently weighing more than 14 kg.

Chum salmon has the broadest geographical range of all of the Pacific species, ranging from the Sacramento River in California to the island of Kyushu in the Sea of Japan.

Coho salmon are also referred to as silver salmon in the United States, found throughout coastal waters of Alaska and British Columbia, as well as far south as Monterey Bay in Central California.

Masu salmon are only found in the western Pacific Ocean in Japan, Korea, and Russia. They are a landlocked species which are also known as Taiwanese salmon.

Pink salmon can be found throughout the northern Pacific, particularly in shorter coastal streams. This is the smallest of all of the Pacific species, with an average weight of around 1.7 kg.

Sockeye salmon are known in the United States as red salmon and are a lake-rearing species.

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