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Pink Salmon - Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
Pink Salmon
Common Names: They can be called humpback or humpies, pink salmon are the most abundant of the commercially important salmon in the Pacific Ocean. Pinks are also the smallest of the salmon, averaging less than 1.5 kg (3 lbs) Like all salmon pinks are anadromous.

Description: Spawning pinks generally weigh from 1.5 to 3 kilograms and are always two years of age. Another name for this species is the "humpy". As they mature, male pinks develop large humped-backs, which make them appear larger during territorial battles on spawning grounds.

Ecology: Immediately after they emerge from the gravel in the spring, the young pink fry enter the ocean and after a few days to several months in the estuary and nearshore zone, they move out into the open ocean in large schools. There, pink salmon feed on the small and nearly invisible animals called zooplankton and especially krill, which gives their flesh the bright pink colour for which they are named. In many rivers pink salmon are abundant every year, but in other rivers they appear only every second year. In the Fraser River pinks are abundant in the odd years but are rare in the even years.
Pink SalmonManagement: Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages sockeye, pink, chum, chinook and coho salmon, while the Province of British Columbia is responsible for steelhead and cutthroat. Fisheries and Oceans Canada develops and implements integrated fisheries management plans based on stock assessment advice and consultation with various users of the resource. The department is also responsible for ensuring that all fishing plans meet conservation and Aboriginal fishery obligations. Activities include:

* assessing salmon stock health;
* developing pre-season fishing plans for all fisheries in consultation with fishers and First Nations;
* addressing policy issues related to the development of fishing plans;
* in-season harvest management;
* post-season assessment of management plan delivery;
* developing partnership agreements with industry;
* implementing new fisheries management policies; and
* addressing fisheries management concerns related to the Canada-U.S. Pacific Salmon Treaty.

How Can You Tell the Difference?

Anglers should use three or more distinguishing characteristics to properly identify all salmon. This would, for example, aid in identifying juvenile chinook from adult pink salmon.

Description of pink salmon in marine phase

Pink salmon have tiny scales and a tail heavily marked with large oval spots. Unlike the other salmon species, the tail of a pink has no silver in it. In the sea, pinks have silver bodies with spotted backs. They are the smallest of the Pacific salmon, usually weighing about 2.2 kg, but occasionally reaching 5.5 kg. They are more abundant in northern waters in even-numbered years and in southern waters in odd-numbered years. Pinks live only two years.

Each pink salmon you keep must be at least 30 cm long.

Description of pink salmon in freshwater phase

Mature males are yellowish gray on the sides of their body, blotched with brown, and dark along back. Females are olive green on the sides of their body with dusky stripes. Both males and females appear dirty white below the lateral line, and their tails have large oval spots.
Pink Salmon Mouth

The mouth in a pink salmon is white, but the gums are black, as they are in a chinook. It does not have "teeth" on its tongue.
Pink Salmon TailThe pink salmon has a V-shaped
tail coverd with large oval spots. Its scales are very small.

Photos Courtesy of DFO, used with Permission

Other photos taken from the Picture Gallery here at AnglingBC.com
Salmon All Categories
  Article Topics Date
1. Salmon Fish Farms Salmon May 2007
2. Upper Pitt River Salmon Salmon Apr 2007
3. How to Properly Store Salmon Salmon Mar 2007
4. Smoked Salmon Recipe Salmon, Smoking Mar 2007
5. Favourite Salmon to Eat Salmon, Smoking Mar 2007
6. Salmon Fishing Page Salmon Mar 2007
7. Chinook Salmon Mar 2007
8. Sockeye Salmon Mar 2007
9. Pink Salmon Salmon Mar 2007
10. Chum Salmon Salmon Mar 2007
11. Float’n spinners for Salmon & Steelhead Salmon, Steelhead, Tackle Jan 2004
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