What Is Wild Salmon?

What Is Wild Salmon?
Like their name implies, wild salmon hatch, mature and are caught in their natural habitats. There are six different major species of salmon that occur in the wild. Unlike wild salmon, farm-raised salmon hatch and are raised in an artificial habitat. Wild salmon and farm-raised salmon differ in a variety of ways, including in their appearance and in their nutritional values.




Wild salmon reproduce naturally and are typically line-caught in their natural habitat. Wild salmon are anadromous---this means they spend part of their lives in freshwater and part of their lives in saltwater. Salmon are born in freshwater, mature at sea and return to freshwater to spawn.


In the wild, the flesh of salmon ranges from white to deep red. Farmed fish get their pink flesh from a synthetic pigment added to their feed.

Nutritional Characteristics

Wild salmon has a greater protein content and a lower fat content than farmed salmon. Wild salmon also have a greater amount of omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised salmon.


The six main salmon species are chinook, coho, chum, pink, sockeye and steelhead.

Major Fisheries

Major wild salmon fisheries are located in the United States, Russia, Japan and Canada. In North America, the greatest amount of wild-caught salmon originate in Alaska. Wild salmon also originate in British Columbia, Washington, California and Oregon.


Article Written By Susan Berg

Based in northern Wisconsin, Susan Berg has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her work has been published in both print and online media, including the "Dayton Daily News" and BioZine. Berg earned a Master of Arts in journalism from Indiana University.

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