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Sockeye salmonSockeye salmon Salmon is the name for the family of fish that includes species of both salmon and trout. Most salmon hatch out in fresh water, migrate to the ocean and return to the same freshwater streams to spawn (reproduce). The journey may exceed 11,000 kilometres (6800 miles). Salmon are thought to find their way by recognizing the taste of their “home” rivers. Salmon live in the north Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Great Lakes of North America.

Salmon leaping upstream against a waterfall.Salmon leaping upstream against a waterfall.

Migrating upstream

Sockeye salmon return to the rivers of their birth to lay their eggs. They face an exhausting and perilous journey, battling against strong currents, waterfalls and scores of hungry brown bears waiting to catch them.

Along their journey upstream, the salmon gradually change colour, from silvery-blue to bright red. This indicates to potential mates that they are sexually mature. Adult males about to breed develop a humped back and hooked jaws which are filled with tiny teeth.


The pink-orange flesh of sockeye salmon meat gets its colour from the krill the fish eat while they are in the ocean.

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