Pink salmon
Overview
Pink salmon or humpback salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, (from a Russian name for this species gorbuša, горбуша) is a species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of anadromous
Fish migration
Many types of fish migrate on a regular basis, on time scales ranging from daily to annually or longer, and over distances ranging from a few metres to thousands of kilometres...

 fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 in the salmon
Salmonidae
Salmonidae is a family of ray-finned fish, the only living family currently placed in the order Salmoniformes. It includes salmon, trout, chars, freshwater whitefishes and graylings...

 family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

. It is the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon
Oncorhynchus
Oncorhynchus is a genus of fish in the family Salmonidae; it contains the Pacific salmons and Pacific trouts. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek onkos and rynchos , in reference to the hooked jaws of males in the mating season .-Range:Salmon and trout with ranges generally in waters...

.
In the ocean, pink salmon are bright silver fish. After returning to their spawning stream, their coloring changes to pale grey on the butt with yellowish white belly (although some turn an overall dull green color).
Encyclopedia
Pink salmon or humpback salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, (from a Russian name for this species gorbuša, горбуша) is a species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of anadromous
Fish migration
Many types of fish migrate on a regular basis, on time scales ranging from daily to annually or longer, and over distances ranging from a few metres to thousands of kilometres...

 fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 in the salmon
Salmonidae
Salmonidae is a family of ray-finned fish, the only living family currently placed in the order Salmoniformes. It includes salmon, trout, chars, freshwater whitefishes and graylings...

 family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

. It is the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon
Oncorhynchus
Oncorhynchus is a genus of fish in the family Salmonidae; it contains the Pacific salmons and Pacific trouts. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek onkos and rynchos , in reference to the hooked jaws of males in the mating season .-Range:Salmon and trout with ranges generally in waters...

.

Appearance

In the ocean, pink salmon are bright silver fish. After returning to their spawning stream, their coloring changes to pale grey on the butt with yellowish white belly (although some turn an overall dull green color). As with all salmon, in addition to the dorsal fin
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

 they also have an adipose fin. The fish is characterized by a white mouth with black gums, no teeth on the tongue, large oval-shaped black spots on the back and v-shaped tail, and an anal fin with 13-17 soft rays. During their spawning
Spawn (biology)
Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

 migration
Fish migration
Many types of fish migrate on a regular basis, on time scales ranging from daily to annually or longer, and over distances ranging from a few metres to thousands of kilometres...

, males develop a pronounced humped back, hence their nickname "humpies". Pink salmon average 4.8 pound
Pound (mass)
The pound or pound-mass is a unit of mass used in the Imperial, United States customary and other systems of measurement...

s (2.2 kg
Kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

) in weight. The maximum recorded size was 30 inches (76 cm) and 15 pounds (6.8 kg).

Reproduction

Pink salmon in their native range have a strict two year life cycle, thus odd and even-year populations do not interbreed. Adult pink salmon enter spawning streams from the ocean, usually returning to the water course, or race, where they originated. Spawning occurs between late June and mid-October. Pink salmon spawn in coastal streams and some longer rivers, and may spawn in the intertidal zone or at the mouth of streams if hyporheic freshwater is available. Using her tail, the female digs a trough-shaped nest, called a redd (Scandinavian word for "nest"), in the gravel
Gravel
Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule and cobble...

 of the stream bed, wherein she deposits her eggs
Roe
Roe or hard roe is the fully ripe internal egg masses in the ovaries, or the released external egg masses of fish and certain marine animals, such as shrimp, scallop and sea urchins...

. As she expels the eggs, she is approached by one or more males who fertilize them as they fall into the redd. Subsequently, the female covers the newly-deposited zygote
Zygote
A zygote , or zygocyte, is the initial cell formed when two gamete cells are joined by means of sexual reproduction. In multicellular organisms, it is the earliest developmental stage of the embryo...

s, again with thrusts of her tail against the gravel at the top of the redd. The female lays from 1000 to 2000 eggs in several clutches within the redd, often fertilized by different males. Females guard their redds until death, which comes within days of spawning. In dense populations, a major source of mortality for embryos is superposition of redds by later-spawning fish. The eggs hatch from December to February, depending on water temperature, and the juveniles emerge from the gravel during March and April and quickly migrate downstream to estuaries at about one-quarter gram. The fish achieve sexual maturity in their second year of life. They return to freshwater in the summer or autumn as two year old adults. Pink and chum salmon
Chum salmon
The chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta, is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. It is a Pacific salmon, and may also be known as dog salmon or Keta salmon, and is often marketed under the name Silverbrite salmon...

 sometimes interbreed in nature to form the hybrid known as the miko salmon; the hybrids are reproductively sterile.

Habitat

Pink salmon are coldwater fish
Coldwater fish
Coldwater fish, in the context of aquariums, refers to fish species that prefer cooler water temperatures than tropical fish, typically below . Some examples are koi and goldfish...

 with a preferred temperature range of 5.6 to 14.6°C, an optimal temperature of 10.1°C, and an upper incipient lethal temperature of 25.8°C. The species is native to Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 and Arctic
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

 coast
Coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

al waters from the Sacramento River
Sacramento River
The Sacramento River is an important watercourse of Northern and Central California in the United States. The largest river in California, it rises on the eastern slopes of the Klamath Mountains, and after a journey south of over , empties into Suisun Bay, an arm of the San Francisco Bay, and...

 in northern California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 to the Mackenzie River
Mackenzie River
The Mackenzie River is the largest river system in Canada. It flows through a vast, isolated region of forest and tundra entirely within the country's Northwest Territories, although its many tributaries reach into four other Canadian provinces and territories...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

; and in the west from the Lena River
Lena River
The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

 in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 to Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

. Populations in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 occur as far south as Hondo Island
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

 in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Pink salmon were introduced into the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

; also in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Conservation status

The pink salmon is critically imperiled in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, and imperiled in Washington. In Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 and British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 they are secure. They have been introduced in the Great Lakes. The range of the pink salmon is the north-eastern Pacific off the North American coast.

Commerce

The commercial harvest of pink salmon is a mainstay of fisheries of both the eastern and western North Pacific; over 100 million have been taken in recent annual harvests in Alaska alone. More than 20 million harvested pink salmon are produced by fishery-enhancement hatcheries, particularly in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Pink salmon are not grown in significant numbers in fish farms. The fish are often canned, smoked or salted. Pink salmon roe is also produced commercially for caviar
Caviar
Caviar, sometimes called black caviar, is a luxury delicacy, consisting of processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe. The roe can be "fresh" or pasteurized, the latter having much less culinary and economic value....

, a particularly valuable product in Asia.

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, fish traps were used to supply fish for commercial canning and salting
Salting (food)
Salting is the preservation of food with dry edible salt. It is related to pickling . It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food, and two historically significant salt-cured foods are dried and salted cod and salt-cured meat.Salting is used because most bacteria, fungi and other potentially...

. The industry expanded steadily until 1920. During the 1940s and 1950s, Pink Salmon populations declined drastically. Fish traps were prohibited in Alaska in 1959. Now most pink salmon are taken with purse seines, drift net
Drift net
Drift netting is a fishing technique where nets, called drift nets, are allowed to float freely at the surface of a sea or lake. Usually a drift net is a gill net with floats attached to a rope along the top of the net, and weights attached to another rope along the foot of the net to keep the net...

s or gillnet
Gillnet
Gillnetting is a common fishing method used by commercial and artisanal fishermen of all the oceans and in some freshwater and estuary areas. The gillnet also is used by fisheries scientists to monitor fish populations. Because gillnets can be so effective their use is closely monitored and...

s. Populations and harvests increased rapidly after the mid 1970s and have been at record high numbers since the 1980s.

"Salmon pink" is a color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 named for the typically pink color of this fish's flesh. The color derives from their diet, which includes shrimp
Shrimp
Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important...

 and krill
Krill
Krill is the common name given to the order Euphausiacea of shrimp-like marine crustaceans. Also known as euphausiids, these small invertebrates are found in all oceans of the world...

.
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