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Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar


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Atlantic Salmon
credit: materialscientist

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Family: Salmonidae, Trouts view all from this family

Description Atlantic salmon, known scientifically as Salmo salar, is a species of fish in the family Salmonidae, which is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and in rivers that flow into the north Atlantic and (due to human introduction) the north Pacific.

It is also commercially known as bay salmon, black salmon, caplin-scull salmon, fiddler, grilse, grilt, kelt, landlocked salmon, ouananiche, outside salmon, parr, Sebago salmon, silver salmon, slink, smolt, spring salmon or winnish.

Most Atlantic salmon follow an anadromous fish migration pattern, in that they undergo their greatest feeding and growth in salt water; however, adults return to spawn in native freshwater streams where the eggs hatch and juveniles grow through several distinct stages.

Atlantic salmon do not require salt water, however, and numerous examples of fully freshwater ("landlocked") populations of the species exist throughout the Northern Hemisphere. In North America, the landlocked strains are frequently known as ouananiche.

Dimensions Up to 4'5" (1.3 m); 79 1/8 lbs (35.9 kg).

Endangered Status The Atlantic Salmon is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. The Atlantic Salmon population known "the Gulf of Maine distinct population segment" is classified as endangered. This includes naturally reproducing wild populations and river-specific hatchery populations found north of and including tributaries of the lower Kennebec River to, but not including, the mouth of the St. Croix River at the U.S.-Canada border. Overfishing, disease, and the introduction of hatchery fishes plague efforts to save the Gulf of Maine salmon, the last known naturally reproducing wild Atlantic Salmon population in the U.S. Under the Endangered Species Act it is now illegal to take salmon from any of the population's designated waterways. Three diseases affecting these fish have been identified and are being studied. Additionally, the escape of hatchery-bred fishes into the wild salmon's range is being looked into. A group of interested parties, including officials of the state of Maine, Native American groups, and conservation organizations, is drafting a plan to save this valuable resource from extinction.

Habitat Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes, Lakes & ponds, Ocean or bay shallows, Rivers & streams.

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada.