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Salmon, Coho , Silver Salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - All applicable methods
Capture area - Pacific (FAO 67)
Stock area - Alaska
Stock detail - Central
Accreditation -
Fish type - Oily fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is a good sustainable fish to eat. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find similar fish to eat.

Sustainability overview

All coho salmon caught in waters off Alaska is from fisheries certified to the FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Programme as responsibly managed for sustainable use. This is the best choice for wild Pacific coho salmon.


Pacific salmon occur from California, north along the Pacific coast throughout the Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean waters adjacent to Alaska. The five species (chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye) are members of a large family of fish known as salmonidae, which are abundant throughout the temperate zones of the northern and southern hemispheres. Pacific salmon are a shorter lived species and much more prolific breeders than Atlantic salmon. Adult coho salmon usually weigh 8 to 12 pounds and are 24 to 30 inches long, but individuals weighing 31 pounds have been landed. Adults in salt water or newly returning to fresh water are bright silver with small black spots on the back and on the upper lobe of the tail fin. They can be distinguished from Chinook salmon by the lack of black spots on the lower lobe of the tail and by their white gums; Chinook have small black spots on both tail fin lobes and they have black gums. Spawning adults of both sexes have dark backs and heads with maroon to reddish sides. Coho salmon enter spawning streams from July to November, usually during periods of high runoff. The female digs a nest, called a redd, and deposits 2,400 to 4,500 eggs. As the eggs are deposited, they are fertilized with sperm, known as milt, from the male. The eggs develop during the winter, hatch in early spring, and the embryos remain in the gravel utilizing their egg yolk until they emerge in May or June. During the fall, juvenile coho may travel miles before locating off-channel habitat where they pass the winter free of floods. Some fish leave fresh water in the spring and rear in brackish estuarine ponds and then migrate back into fresh water in the fall. They spend one to three winters in streams and may spend up to five winters in lakes before migrating to the sea as smolt. Time spent at sea varies. Some males (called jacks) mature and return after only 6 months at sea at a length of about 12 inches, while most fish stay 18 months before returning as full size adults. In freshwater, coho fry feed voraciously on a wide range of aquatic insects and plankton. They also consume eggs deposited by adult spawning salmon. Their diet at sea consists mainly of fish and squid. Little is known about the ocean migrations of coho salmon. High seas tagging shows that maturing Southeast Alaska coho move northward throughout the spring and appear to concentrate in the central Gulf of Alaska in June. They later disperse towards shore and migrate along the shoreline until they reach their stream of origin.

Stock information

Stock area

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Stock information
The Alaska Pacific salmon fisheries occur within US territorial waters adjacent to the coast of the State of Alaska, and are managed principally by staff of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). The Alaska state constitution, Article VIII, Section 4, requires the management, conservation and protection of the salmon resource and its habitat. Today, this constitutional requirement, coupled with effective management, has contributed to the healthy status of the salmon fisheries. In 1959, state-wide salmon harvests were about 25 million salmon a year. In 2012 (more than 50 years later) Alaska's commercial salmon catch was 124 million fish. In collaboration with ADFG, who is tasked with salmon conservation, the Alaska Board of Fisheries allocates salmon to the various gear users, following a well respected yearly cycle of public meetings throughout Alaska to actively engage stakeholders in the decision making processes. Following State constitution, management measures implemented include: establishing open and closed seasons, in season (realtime) management by virtue of Emergency Orders, setting quotas, bag limits, harvest limits (after escapement goals are reached), sex and size limitations, establishing the methods and means employed in the pursuit, capture and transport of fish, watershed and habitat improvement, management, conservation, protection, use, disposal, propagation and stocking of fish, regulating commercial, sport, guided sport, subsistence, and personal use fishing as needed for the conservation, development, and sustainable utilisation of fisheries. All the wild salmon (pink, chum, coho, sockeye and Chinook) caught the waters off Alaska is from fisheries certified to the FAO-Based Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification Programme as responsibly managed for sustainable use. Following full assessment, the fisheries reached certification in 2011 and it was concluded that the Alaska salmon fisheries meet the FAO-Based RFM conformance criteria. Yearly surveillance assessments validate and ensure that the fishery continues to be managed responsibly.


Capture information

Salmon in the Central region are harvested by purse seine, drift and fixed net.

Read more about capture methods

ASMI Website: ADFG website:

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