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PINK SALMON

DID YOU KNOW?Upstream migration may be disrupted if adults encounter hydrocarbon concentration exceeding 1-10 parts per billion.

SCIENTIFIC NAME:Oncorhynchus gorbuscha.

COMMON NAMES:Humpy salmon, dog salmon, hone salmon, and humpback salmon.

DESCRIPTION:The pink salmon is metallic blue-green in the water from above and silvery from below; black spots on back and on the caudal fin. When spawning, males develop humped backs, hooked jaws and reddish-yellow sides. The females tend to be more greenish. Up to 30 inches in length and weigh up to 12 pounds; pink salmon usually weigh from 3 to 5 pounds.

LIFECYCLE:Pink salmon begin their downstream movement almost immediately upon emergence from the gravel and move rapidly into near-shore nursery areas and shallow marine waters. For a short time, pinks may be abundant in estuarine tidal channels; however, pinks typically spend minimal time in estuaries. After about 18 months at sea, pinks return to their natal streams to spawn.

RANGE:In North America, important spawning populations occur from the Puyallup River in Washington northward to Alaska and eastward to Canada's Northwest Territories.

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY:Pink salmon rely heavily on freshwater and nearshore habitats during their life cycle. They feed on larval insects, copepods, crustacean larvae, and other invertebrates. Spawning primarily in the lower reaches of coastal rivers, pink lay eggs in gravel that is 1.3 - 10.2 cm in diameter. Upon emergence from the redd (nest), migration downstream begins immediately. Pink salmon encounter numerous natural and human induced threats to their survival, such as, run-off of herbicides and pesticides, dams, urban development, and industrial waste. All can lead to increased mortality of pink salmon.In addition, shoreline development and the filling of marine wetlands can significantly affect the near-shore environment, negatively impacting pink salmon before they head out to the ocean.

ECONOMIC VALUE:Pink salmon is the most abundant salmon species in the North Pacific and an economically important resource to commercial fishermen throughout Alaska, Washington and Canada. Although not as important a sport fishery as coho or chinook, pink salmon is caught by trolling in near-shore marine waters, along beaches and in streams.


Revised 12/16/96