Atlantic Salmon


Salmo salar

ALSO KNOWN AS Sea run salmon, Kelts, Black salmon

In response to the decline of wild populations as a result of industrialization, Atlantic salmon have been raised in hatcheries since 1864. Strict regulations make sure domestic salmon farms meet stringent environmental, fish health, and human food safety standards. After decades of practice, salmon farmers have developed a variety of management practices to meet these rigorous requirements and provide a healthy, safe, and sustainable seafood product.

Like other species of salmon, Atlantic salmon have high levels of healthy fat (omega-3s), which make them a healthy fish to consume.

Atlantic salmon have spindle-like body shapes – rounded, broad in the middle, and tapered at each end. Their heads are about one-fifth the size of their bodies. The underside fins are quite prominent, especially on juveniles. Spawning Atlantic salmon adults darken to a bronze colour after entering freshwater and darker further after they spawn. At this stage they are often called “kelt” or “black salmon.” They return to silver after they return to salt water.

In North America, adult Atlantic salmon spend almost half of their lives in the open ocean, migrating along the coast of North America to Greenland to feed. During spawning season, they travel back to the same freshwater streams and rivers where they were born.

Atlantic salmon is the only salmon species native to the Atlantic Ocean. There are three groups of wild Atlantic salmon: North American, European, and Baltic. However, after industrial and agricultural development, Atlantic salmon are now sustained by hatchery programs and protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Farmed salmon come from commercial hatcheries. Male and female salmon are spawned, and the fertilized eggs are transferred to environmentally-controlled tanks where they will eventually hatch into fry. After hatching, juvenile salmon are raised to 40-120 grams and then transferred to a grow-out facility or released for stock enhancement. More than 1.4 million tons of farmed Atlantic salmon is produced worldwide, making up more than 50 percent of the global salmon market.