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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar

While most marine fish would quickly die in fresh water, the Atlantic salmon can move easily between river and sea. Fish with this ability are called anadromous. Designed for long-distance swimming, this fish has a powerful, streamlined body and a large tail.

During their spawning runs, Atlantic salmon swim against strong river currents and leap up waterfalls to reach their spawning grounds. Before spawning, the salmon roam the north Atlantic for several years feeding on other fish. The Atlantic salmon is highly prized as a game fish, but wild salmon are becoming increasingly rare.

Salmon Farming

Floating fish farms rearing Atlantic salmon are common in Scottish sea lochs and Norwegian fiords. Young salmon (fry) are hatched in hatcheries and reared in submerged nets. Environmental concerns about fish farms focus on the chemicals used to kill fish lice, and the effects of high levels of nutrients in the water.

What Oceana Does to Protect Salmon

Oceana works in the U.S. to protect wild Pacific salmon. In Chile, we work to raise the environmental and sanitation standards for the production of farmed salmon in order to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of this industry.

Atlantic Salmonzoom image
  • Order Salmoniformes
  • Length Up to 5 ft (1.5 m)
  • Weight Up to 100 lb (45 kg)
  • Depth Mostly surface waters
  • Distribution Temperate and cold waters of north Atlantic and adjacent rivers
Atlantic Salmon habitat mapzoom image