Read The Health Benefits of Salmon
The seasonal migration of salmon is one of nature’s most interesting phenomena. Commonly referred to as the salmon run, this migration takes place when salmon from the ocean swim upriver to spawn. These migrating salmon species are classified as anadromous; meaning, they spend the first part of their lives in fresh water, migrate to the oceans and stay there until reaching sexual maturity, after which they go back to the river or stream from whence they came in order to reproduce. Considering that in some areas, the fishes have to swim against strong river currents for thousands of miles in order to reach their destination, it can be said that the salmon is indeed a rare breed of fish. Nonetheless, it is not only its spawning behavior that makes the salmon remarkable, as there are more interesting facts about the fish.
- Mature salmon are exceptional jumpers, an ability that serves them well when they have to swim upstream or go up rapids in order to reach rivers and streams. In fact, “salmon” comes from the Latin word “salmo,” which means “to leap.”
- Fossils found in British Columbia prove that salmon have been in existence for over 50 million years.
- There are several salmon species but only nine are commercially valuable.
- In the animal kingdom, the salmon’s closest relatives are trout and char since they belong to the same family, Salmonidae.
- The biggest species of salmon is the Chinook, which can weigh as much as a hundred pounds. Also called King Salmon, the Chinook is the most commercially valuable not only because of its size but also for its high fat content.
- The salmon’s uncanny ability to return to the exact stream where it was born is astonishing. It is believed that they are able to do this from olfactory memory. Simply put, they can remember the smell of “home.”
- Aside from fishermen, no other creature on Earth anticipates the salmon migration more than the grizzly bear. For the grizzlies, migration season equals salmon feasts. The bears are known to stand on the edge of waterfalls and catch the leaping fish with their mouths.
- Salmon is nutritious. Aside from its protein content, it also contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. A single serving of wild salmon weighing 3 ounces can have as much as 1,060 milligrams of the nutrient. Omega-3 is essential to your body because it has been proven to help prevent cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attack.
- Salmon do not eat during the migration process and most die from exhaustion after spawning.
- The nest where the female salmon lay their eggs is called a redd, where as many as 5,000 eggs may be found.