This versatile fish is robust enough for summer-time grilling, yet will not overpower subtle seasonings or cooking methods.

Combine its flavor and well-known health benefits with its environmental-friendliness, and wild-caught Alaska salmon is an excellent seafood choice. Try Alaska salmon poached with caviar cream sauce, or as burgers on the grill.

Also known as:

There are five species of Alaska salmon. These are chinook salmon (also known as king, spring and black mouth salmon), coho salmon (also known as silver salmon), chum salmon (also known as dog and calico salmon), sockeye salmon (also known as red and blue back salmon) and pink salmon (also known as humpback and humpy salmon).

Availability:

Frozen, year-round; fresh and frozen, summer and fall

Product forms:

Fresh or frozen fillets, whole fish, steaks, smoked or canned. Also value-added products, such as burger patties.

Shopping tips:

Rather than selecting your salmon based on color, which can vary by species, look for firm meat that does not appear dried out or mealy.

Substitutions:

Wild-caught Alaska salmon can be substituted for trout and farmed salmon.

Recipes:

Poached wild-caught Alaska salmon with caviar cream sauce

Grilled wild-caught Alaska salmon burgers with dill aioli

Salmon fishery: Alaska salmon are caught with gillnets, purse seines and trolling gear. More.

Conservation notes:

Wild-caught Alaska salmon is an ocean-friendly seafood choice because the wild populations are healthy and the fishing gear used does not substantially disturb marine habitats. More.
Last updated: July 2011

Salmon Fishery

Alaska salmon are most often caught with gillnets, purse seines and set nets, which work by trapping or tangling fishes in the mesh or netting. Gillnets and set nets are typically set as a curtain of netting–either adrift or anchored to shore–that traps certain sized fish that swim into the net. Purse seines are actually set around schools of fish by small fishing boats.

Another method used in the Alaska salmon fishery is trolling, which catches fish on baited hooks at the end of fishing line that is pulled through the water by a fishing vessel. As soon as a fish is hooked, fishers reel it in. This means that unwanted animals (bycatch) can be released almost immediately and often without serious injury. Since gillnets, purse seines and trolling gear do not typically come in contact with the seafloor for an extended time, habitat disturbance is minimal in the Alaska salmon fishery.

The state of Alaska manages the majority of the Alaska salmon fisheries. Before the fishery is opened, a certain percentage of salmon are allowed to pass upriver to spawn. Many runs of salmon in Alaska are also supported by the release of hatchery-raised fry and smolts (young salmon).

Conservation Notes

Wild-caught Alaska salmon is an ocean-friendly seafood choice because the management of the fishery is effective and the fishing gear used does not cause substantial disturbance to marine habitats.

Alaska salmon is carefully managed and most Alaska salmon populations are robust enough to withstand the pressure of commercial fishing. Although the “enhancement” of wild populations with hatchery-raised salmon is sometimes controversial, where it has been in practice in some areas of Alaska for decades, it has helped to support commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries. However, increasing hatchery releases may have negative impacts on wild populations.

Most commercial salmon fishing methods, such as seines, gillnets and hook-and-line trolling gear, have limited impacts on marine habitats. Because these fishing methods are able to specifically target salmon, the accidental bycatch of untargeted fish and other marine species is also very low.