Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) - Wiki
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[Photo] Coho Salmon (also called silvers) Oncorhyncus kisutch
The Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch, from the Russian кижуч kisutch) is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or "silvers".
During their ocean phase, Coho have silver sides and dark blue backs. During their spawning phase, the jaws and teeth of the coho become hooked, and they develop bright red sides, bluish green heads and backs, dark bellies with dark spots on their back. Sexually maturing coho develop a light pink or rose shading along the belly and the males may show a slight arching of the back. Mature coho salmon have a pronounced red skin color with darker backs and average 38 inches in length and seven to 11 pounds in weight, although coho weighing up to 36 pounds have been reported. Mature females may be darker than males, with both showing a pronounced hook on the nose.
The eggs hatch in the spring. The young spend one to two years in the fresh water before migrating to the ocean in late March through July. Young often spend the first winter in off-channel sloughs. Some fish leave fresh water in the spring, spend summer in brackish estuarine ponds and then migrate back into fresh water in the fall. Coho salmon live in the salt water for one or two years before returning to spawn.
The traditional range of the coho salmon runs from both sides of the North Pacific ocean, from Hokkaid??, Japan and eastern Russian, around the Bering Sea to mainland Alaska, and south all the way to Monterey Bay, California. Coho salmon have also been introduced in Lake Erie, as well as many other landlocked reservoirs throughout the United States.
Coho salmon are the backbone of the Alaska troll fishery, however, the majority are caught by the net fishery (Gillnet and Seine). Coho salmon average 3.5% by fish of the annual Alaska salmon harvest; 5.9% by weight of the annual Alaska salmon harvest. (Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, 2003, p.2)
This species is a game fish and provides fine sport in fresh and salt water from July to December, especially with light fishing tackle. It is one of the most popular sport fish in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Its popularity is due in part to the reckless abandon which it frequently displays chasing bait and lure while in salt water, and the large number of coastal streams it ascends during its spawning runs. Its habit of schooling in relatively shallow water, and often near beaches, makes it accessible to anglers on the banks as well as in boats.
Ocean caught coho is regarded as excellent table fare. It has a moderate to high amount of fat, which is considered essential when judging taste. Only Spring Chinook and Sockeye salmon have higher levels of fats in their meat.
On May 6, 1997, The National Marine Fisheries Service, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, listed as threatened the Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast "Evolutionarily Significant Unit" of coho salmon. 62 Fed.Reg. 24588 (May 6, 1997). The coho salmon population in the southern Oregon/Northern California region has declined from an estimated 150,000 to 400,000 naturally spawning fish in the 1940s to less than 10,000 naturally producing adults today. The dramatic reduction in the coho salmon population has been due to many natural and man-made conditions, including long-term trends in atmospheric conditions, such as El Nino, which causes extremes in annual rainfall on the northern California coast, the predation of coho salmon by the California Sea Lion and Pacific Harbor Seal, and commercial timber harvesting.
Historically, the coho, along with other species, has been a staple in the diet of several Native American tribes, who would also use it to trade with other tribes farther inland.
The coho salmon is also a symbol of several Native American tribes, representing life and sustenance.
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