Salmon Facts



  • Salmon are river and sea fish caught or farmed in huge quantities for food.
  • All salmon are born in rivers and lakes far inland, then swim down river and out to sea.
  • Adult salmon spend anything from 6 months to 7 years in the oceans, before returning to rivers and swimming upstream to spawn (lay their eggs).
  • More than five salmon species, including the sockeye and the chinook, spawn in North American rivers running into the North Pacific.
  • Cherry salmon spawn in eastern Asian rivers, and amago salmon spawn in Japanese rivers.
  • Atlantic salmon spawn in rivers in northern Europe and eastern Canada.
  • Spawning salmon return to the same stream they were born in, up to 3,000 km inland. They are probably sensitive to the chemical and mineral make-up of streams and rivers, helping them to recognize their own stream.
  • To reach their spawning grounds, salmon have to swim upstream against strong currents, often leaping as high as 5 m to clear waterfalls.
  • When salmon reach their spawning grounds, they mate. The female lays up to 20,000 eggs.
  • After spawning, the weakened salmon head down river again, but few make it as far as the sea.
  • Salmon returning to their spawning ground make mighty leaps up raging ion cats. The journey can take months.