Pink Salmon

Pink Salmon
Common Name Pink Salmon
Market Name humpback salmon, gorbusch
Scientific name Oncorhynchus gorbuscha

Sourcing Summary

Size

2-6 lbs.

Pink salmon is the smallest wild Pacific salmon and its flesh is pale pink. This salmon is mild-flavored, softer than most salmon, has a small flake and contains a relatively low amount of oil. Look for pink salmon with firm meat that has minimal scale loss and no vertical bars of watermarks that indicate the fish has neared fresh water. Pink salmon is graded 2-4, 4-6, 6-9, and 9 up. Pink salmon is mostly sold frozen or canned, and is increasingly sold in value-added products like salmon burgers and marinated steaks. A very small quantity is sold fresh, headed and gutted from July through August as is high quality whole pink salmon caught by trollers and frozen at sea. Processors who do both freezing and canning tend to only freeze the highest quality pink salmon so some buyers suggest purchasing from them. Buyers suggest learning about specific salmon species’ runs in order to find the best quality salmon since there are natural variations among them.

Based on average landings of pink salmon from 2011-2014 and using 2016 Seafood Watch ratings, the sustainability breakdown of North American pink salmon is as follows:

  • ~95% "Best Choice (green)" - from Alaska
  • ~2-3% "Good Alternative (yellow)" from Washington (more specifically Puget Sound)
  • ~2-3% unrated from British Columbia (although this is Ocean Wise 'Recommended')
     

On a global scale over the same time period, the split between Russia and the United States & Canada pink salmon production is about 55%/45% respectively.

Product Forms

Fresh/Frozen
Fresh
Product Forms
Fillet
H&G
Portions
Fresh/Frozen
Frozen
Product Forms
Fillet
H&G
Portions

Fresh Seasonal Availability

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
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Culinary Composition

Mild

Flavor

Delicate

Texture

Cooking Methods

Health/Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 116
Total Fat 3g
Cholesterol 52mg
Sodium 67mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 20g
Omega-3 1.1g

Science & Management

Wild

Conservation Criteria - Wild

Impact on Stock

Pink salmon are relatively fast-growing, short-lived fish that reaches maturity at two years. Although this salmon has low fecundity and its spawning behavior makes it vulnerable to net fishing pressure, this is partially offset by the production of large eggs that the fish buries. That strategy helps the salmon stay resilient.

The abundance of pink salmon, which are found on both sides of the North Pacific, is very difficult to forecast since they have extremely variable mortality and spend so little time in the ocean, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Despite this, pink salmon populations are abundant in Alaska and at generally healthy levels further south. A Seafood Watch report from 2016 found that pink salmon abundance on the U.S. West Coast was a low concern.

Habitat impacts ( Wild)

Pink salmon are mainly caught with purse seines and gillnets, which usually don’t touch the seafloor so the gear impacts on the ocean bottom are minimal. A small number of pink salmon are caught using beach seines or troll gear, but these methods cause little impact in Alaska.

Bycatch

Bycatch in the pink salmon fishery mainly consists of other fish species and there is incidental catch of marine mammals and some endangered seabirds. Overall bycatch is thought to be low, but very little quantitative information is available. 

Management effectiveness

The salmon fisheries in Alaska have substantial management measures in place that include scientific monitoring, gear restrictions, bycatch reduction measures, and a limited entry program to control capacity. Since smaller pink salmon amounts are caught in Washington, abundance is scientifically monitored there to help set harvest limits. A Seafood Watch report from 2016 noted that significant progress had been made in managing salmon along the U.S. West Coast. Despite the complicated presence of endangered species, Seafood Watch considered management of most of these salmon fisheries to be careful and highly effective.

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Fishing Methods  
Canada - British Columbia Gillnet  
Canada - British Columbia Purse Seine  
Canada - British Columbia Troll  
Russia - East Sakhalin Island Trap Net  
Russia - East Sakhalin Island Gillnet  
Russia - Iturup Island Pot/Trap  
Russia - Kamchatka Peninsula Beach Seine  
Russia - Kamchatka Peninsula Trap Net  
USA - Alaska Gillnet  
USA - Alaska Purse Seine  
USA - Alaska Troll  
USA - California Troll  
USA - California Drift Gillnet  
USA - California Purse Seine  
USA - Oregon Drift Gillnet  
USA - Oregon Purse Seine  
USA - Oregon Troll  
USA - Washington (Fraser River) Reefnet  
USA - Washington (Puget Sound) Drift Gillnet  
USA - Washington (Puget Sound) Purse Seine  
USA - Washington (Puget Sound) Troll  
Name Country State / Province
7 Seas Fish Co., Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Alaska Peninsula Fisherman's Co-op United States Washington
Albion Farms & Fisheries Canada British Columbia
Alcatraz Bay Seafoods United States California
Allseas Fisheries Corp. Canada Ontario
American Fish & Seafood Company United States California
Annette Island Packing Company United States Alaska
Aqua Star United States Washington
Aqualine Seafoods Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Argo Salmon Distributors LLC United States Massachusetts
B&C Food Distributors Canada British Columbia
Barlean's Fishery, Inc. United States Washington
Blue North Inc. United States Washington
Blue North Trading Company, LLC. United States Washington
Blundell Seafoods Canada British Columbia
Bornstein Seafoods Inc. United States Oregon
C2C Premium Seafood Canada British Columbia
Calkins & Burke Canada British Columbia
Canadian Fishing Company Canada British Columbia
Cape Greig, LLC. United States Washington
Centennial Foodservice Canada Alberta
Channel Fish Processing Company, Inc. United States Massachusetts
City Fish Canada Alberta
CleanFish United States California
Clipper Ship, Inc. United States Washington
Coal Point Seafood Company United States Alaska
Coffee Point Seafoods of Washington, LLC United States Washington
E&E Foods, LLC. United States Washington
E.C. Phillips & Son, Inc. United States Alaska
Euclid Fish Company United States Ohio
F/V Miss Mary Inc United States Washington
Flurer Smokery Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Fortune Fish & Gourmet United States Illinois
Halperns' Purveyors of Steak and Seafood United States Georgia
Icicle Seafoods, Inc. United States Washington
Icy Strait Seafoods, Inc United States Washington
Ilwaco Landing LLC United States Washington
J.J. McDonnell United States Maryland
John Nagle Co. United States Massachusetts
Kodiak Island WildSource United States Alaska
L&L International Inc. United States California
Lotus Seafood Inc. United States California
Lummi Island Wild United States Washington
Lusamerica Foods, Inc. United States California
Marx Foods United States Washington
Maximum Seafood Canada Ontario
McRoberts Sales Co., Inc. United States Florida
Nakeen Homepack, LLC. United States Alaska
Northeast Seafood Products, Inc. United States Colorado
Northern Lakes Seafood & Meats United States Michigan
Northern Products Corporation United States Washington
Northport Fisheries Inc. United States Washington
Northwest Fresh Seafood Company United States Oregon
Norton Sound Enterprises United States Washington
Nova Fisheries/SunWave Processors United States Washington
Ocean Beauty Seafoods LLC United States Washington
Orca Bay Seafoods, Inc. United States Washington
Organic Ocean Seafood Inc. Canada British Columbia
Pacific Fresh Fish Ltd. Canada Saskatchewan
Pacific Harvest Seafood, Inc. United States Washington
Pacific Seafood Group, Inc. United States Oregon
Pacific Star Seafoods, Inc. United States Alaska
Palomino Foods, Inc. United States Washington
Profish Ltd. United States District of Columbia
Queen Charlotte Seafoods Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Raw Seafoods United States Massachusetts
Red River Seafood Company LLC United States Florida
Sea Agra Seafood Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Seabright Seafood, LLC. United States Alaska
Seacore Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Seattle Fish Company United States Colorado
Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico United States New Mexico
Select Gourmet Foods Inc. United States Washington
Slade Gorton & Co Inc. United States Massachusetts
Sleeping Giant Inc. United States Washington
SOGDA Limited, Inc. United States Washington
Stikine Seafoods United States Alaska
Tai Foong USA United States Washington
Taku Fisheries / Smokeries United States Alaska
Taku River Reds United States Alaska
The Auction Block Co. United States Alaska
The Fish Guys Inc. United States Minnesota
The Fishin' Company United States Pennsylvania
The Salmon Hookup United States Alaska
Tonka Seafoods, Inc. United States Alaska
Tradex Foods Inc. Canada British Columbia
Trident Seafoods Corp. United States Washington
Vita Food Products United States Illinois
Wild Planet Foods, Inc. United States California
Willowfield Enterprises Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Worldwide Seafoods (1997) Ltd. Canada British Columbia
ZF America United States Washington