The chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), sometimes known as the dog salmon or keta salmon, is a species of Pacific salmon that is classified as anadromous.
Steelhead, often called rainbow trout, and the many Alaskan salmon species (including chinook, coho, sockeye, chum, and pink) are believed to share a common ancestry.
These modern strains of Pacific salmon date back 4 million to 6 million years. This fish has lived longer than you reading this article. Do you want to find out more about them? Then keep reading fam!
How Do I Describe the Keta Salmon?
The Keta salmon, unlike most other salmonids, has a rather deep body. The anal fin of Pacific species typically includes 12–20 rays, while European species often have no more than 12.
Keta is a silvery blue-green overall, with some vague spotting in a darker tint and a noticeably lighter belly. When they enter fresh water, their olive green backs and white bellies darken.
Near the time of spawning, adults develop purple blotchy streaks near the caudal peduncle, which become darker as they move toward the tail.
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What Does the Keta Salmon Look Like?
Outside of the mating season, a keta salmon’s body is compressed into a torpedo form, and its scales are a dazzling bluish-green with black speckles.
Average adult length is 23.6 inches, and weight ranges from 9.7 to 35 pounds. The fish has an emarginate tail fin and 10–14 soft dorsal rays in addition to 13–17 soft anal rays.
When males are ready to reproduce, they change colour, becoming a dark olive green or even black.
In addition to the streak up their side that appears very much like a bleeding cut left by a switchblade, the remainder of their body is greyish-red and tiger-striped with black and crimson.
The flesh is brilliant pinkish orange and loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as is typical with salmon.
What is the Size of the Keta Salmon?
The average adult chum salmon is 60.0 cm (23.6 in) in length and weighs between 4.4 and 10.0 kg (9.7 and 22.0 lb).
Todd Johansson caught a chum that weighed 35 pounds (15.88 kilograms) and measured 112 inches (44.1 inches) on July 11, 1995, in Edye Pass (a channel between Prescott and Porcher Islands in the Hecate Strait) in British Columbia’s North Coast region.
Vicki D. Martin caught a chum that measured 71.0 centimetres (28.0 inches) on October 20, 2021, in Washington’s Wynoochee River.
What is the Scientific Name of the Chum Keta Salmon?
The silverbrite salmon, sometimes known as the keta, is formally known as Oncorhynchus keta scientifically.
Genus names are derived from their respective Greek words: in this case, ónkos means “lump” or “bend” and rhnkhos means “snout.”
The male salmon develops a hooked beak for mating purposes, and this is how it looks. The word “keta” comes from the Evenki language of eastern Siberia and has been adopted into the Russian language.
Where is the Habitat of the Chum Keta Salmon?
The keta salmon’s range extends from San Diego in the south to the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea in the north.
It can also be found in Iranian seas, as well as those off the coasts of Korea and Japan. Since millions of pounds of fish are caught every year in Alaska, it’s safe to assume that the population is in the millions.
The fish requires different environments at various stages of its development. The fish hatch in the late fall/winter or the summer on the sand/pebble-bottomed intertidal zones and cold, freshwater streams.
They migrate to the ocean during the warmer months of the year and spend their juvenile years near shore. They have made a name for themselves by returning to their birthplace three or four years later to reproduce.
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How is the Keta Salmon Distributed in the World?
The Chum salmon, among Pacific salmon, has the widest native distribution. Off the coastlines of Japan, Korea, the Russian Far East, British Columbia in Canada, and the United States Alaska and California, you can find chum.
They travel the furthest of any Oncorhynchus species, all the way up the Yukon River in Alaska and Canada and all the way down into the Amur River basin in Northeast China and Russia on their annual migrations.
They go thousands of kilometres up the Mackenzie River, although in much smaller groups. From the Laptev Sea to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean, you’ll find a small population of these fish.
Although chum salmon were first detected in the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, California in 1915 and the Sacramento River in northern California in the 1950s, their typical range in North America is the Arctic’s Mackenzie River to the Pacific Northwest’s Umpqua River.
Six chum keta salmon were tallied in Lagunitas Creek, which is located around 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of San Francisco, California, in the fall of 2017.
What is the Population of the Chum Keta Salmon?
The keta salmon population is likely in the millions, though this is not quantified. It is estimated that there are 91 million fish in the Alaskan population.
However, there are restrictions on taking fish from some populations, and regulations on taking fish vary from one region to the next.
How Does the Keta Salmon Reproduce?
One of the longest migrating salmon species is the chum keta. The female builds a redd, nest about three feet in diameter and 1.6 feet deep, near the stream where she was born.
Both the male and female do a vibrating dance over the redd, releasing eggs and sperm.
After that, the mother seals up the nest. If she lays eggs with a different male, she will start a new redd. She can have multiple litters in a year, and her eggs will hatch in around three to four months each time.
When the larvae are between 1 and 1.77 inches long, they make a lengthy journey back to the sea.
The parents perish after having their young. The decomposition of their remains benefits the aquatic environment and the development of their young.
What are the Chum Keta Salmon Predators?
Eagles have been seen feasting on the carcasses of these salmon after they have spawned, and bears gather around streams to pick them off as they struggle to their breeding sites.
Other than killer whales, seals, sea lions, and shorebirds, silverbrite salmon is a staple food for these animals. Stonefly larvae, which can also be found in freshwater streams, are known to prey on young salmon.
What Makes Up the Diet of the Keta Salmon?
Prey of these fish includes:
- Smaller fish
- Comb jellies
- Tunicates such as sea squirts
What is the Commercial Use of the Chum Keta Salmon?
In 2010, the North Pacific had a total registered harvest of about 313,000 tons or 91 million chum salmon.
About half of the catch originated in Japan, while the remaining quarter was divided evenly between Russia and the United States.
As a percentage of the total Pacific salmon catch in 2010, chum salmon accounted for roughly 34%. The chum salmon has the lowest market value of all North American salmon species.
The Chum Salmon is the least attractive Salmon for human consumption, thus commercial fishers and sport anglers frequently ignore them despite their high abundance in Alaska.
The expansion of the Japanese and Northern European markets between 1984 and 1994 has contributed to the rising popularity of chum salmon in recent years. Dried salmon has long been sourced from these waters.
Can the Keta Salmon Fillets Be Used For Cooking?
The keta salmon is a premium cooking fish. Recipes call for poaching, pan-frying, baking, broiling, steaming, and even eating the fish raw as sushi or sashimi due to its mild flavour.
Salmon roe, popularly known as caviar, is highly sought after. Salon caviar can be distinguished from sturgeon caviar by its darker hue and larger eggs.
Salmon caviar is more environmentally friendly than sturgeon caviar because chum salmon are more abundant. The Silverbrite, like other salmon, may be rather pricey. Prices per pound can fluctuate between $19 and $26.
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Commercial fisheries use gill nets and purse seiners to capture chum salmon. Since the chum, like other Pacific salmon, does not feed when it returns to spawn, recreational fishers typically target it in saltwater with light tackle and in freshwater with fly tackle.
The North Pacific and Bering Sea coastal rivers are its point of origin. In North America, you can get this fish labelled as “silverbrite salmon” rather often.
Now that you know what the keta salmon is all about do well to share with your friends to know as well!
FAQs About the Keta Salmon
Why is the Keta Salmon also Called Dog Salmon?
One possible explanation for the keta salmon’s other name, “dog salmon,” is that males of the species develop canine-like fangs during mating season.
What Makes the Keta Salmon Different From Other Selmon Species?
The keta salmon is a common species of fish, just like the Chinook, sockeye, pink, and coho. All of these salmon have similar life cycles and taste great when cooked.
What is a Keta Salmon?
The keta salmon is a Pacific salmon species prized for its edible roe and meat.
Is it Safe To Eat Keta Salmon?
Keta salmon is a nutritious option. Omega-3 fatty acids and the B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, can be found in abundance.