Alaska King Salmon

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Known by several names, the Alaska King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is also called the Chinook Salmon, Spring Salmon, or Blackmouth Salmon. The name "King" comes from those who feel that the fish is the best type of salmon. Among chefs and fisherman, the flavor is considered exemplary, and the Alaskan King Salmon has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than other types of salmon.

The official State Fish of Alaska, it is the largest of all the Pacific Salmon. It is common for an individual fish to weigh over 30 pounds, and the record fish weighed over 120 pounds! King Salmon are probably the most iconic of salmon species, as they have been known to travel thousands of miles to return to their original spawning grounds, and die as soon as they reproduce.

The King Salmon Industry

Alaska's annual run of salmon lasts from about May to July, and the catch of chinook is roughly 730,000 fish--making up 32 percent of the North American catch. This industry brings in about $19 million every year, and this is a relatively stable number. Methods of fishing, as well as maximum catch size, are specified in a series of international treaties on salmon fishing.

In addition to the commercial fishing industry, eskimos and other subsistence fishers catch an additional 90,000 a year. On top of this, Alaskan King Salmon are a sportsman's dream catch, and anglers come on vacation during Alaska's summer to try to hook a Chinook. These fishermen bring a lot of tourism dollars into Alaska, and take out about 76,000 more of the King Salmon. Despite these gigantic catches, the salmon are managed carefully, and numbers are monitored to ensure that a similar catch will come the next year.


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