Salmonid fishes: description and economic importance

Salmon fish have always been the object of industrial and sports fishing, and in recent decades they have increasingly bred in fish farms.

The names salmon and trout have long been synonymous expensive and very tasty red fish. Well, red caviar of salmon fish is a famous delicacy, which is second in value only to black caviar.

Salmon fish

Salmonids in the scientific classification is the only biological families of the order leaseoperating belonging to the class of ray-finned fish. Among the representatives of this family are diadromous species and those that live exclusively in fresh water.

Fish of the salmon family is subdivided into three subfamilies:

  • Actually salmon, includes 7 genera. Large or medium-sized fish with small scales and a large mouth filled with rows of big teeth. Salmon are predators or have a mixed diet. This subfamily includes species such as pink salmon, chum salmon, sockeye salmon, salmon, rainbow trout etc.
  • Whitefish, consists of three kinds. Different from the first structure of the skull, smaller mouth and larger scales. To this subfamily belong Peled, whitefish, common whitefish, whitefish, valance etc.
  • Harisova includes one genus. Has a more massive dorsal fin. Moreover, without exception, grayling live in fresh water small fast rivers and cold lakes. The number of types is small, the most famous Siberian, Mongolian, and European grayling.

It is important to understand that the common household name of “trout” and “salmon” do not correspond to any one particular type of salmon. It is a generic name, which refer rather to the meat of several closely related species of fish than to themselves.

Most often the term “salmon” refers to related to the genus noble salmon salmon (actually salmon, Atlantic salmon, American salmon, etc.), or salmon spawning. The word “salmon” is in the name at least a dozen other fish, belonging to different subfamilies, and in the name of two kinds – the Noble and Pacific salmon.

A similar situation exists with the trout. In our country trout often called representatives of the species rainbow trout (aka Kamchatka salmon) and trout (brook or brown trout). But this name is also used for other species, less known in Russia.

However, in everyday life there is a confusion with the names. Scientific classification is no less confusing. Due to the fact that salmonid fish species distributed throughout the Northern hemisphere, and also due to the great variability of the exterior in one view, in the scientific community there are several classifications, and each type has several names. Vary not only the national titles, which in General is logical, but even purely scientific Latin terms. Worse, often the same Latin term is applied to different types within different classifications.

With that said, the remainder of this article, the term “salmon” will be implied only fish of the subfamily of salmon, that is not a whitefish, and grayling does not.

General information about salmon fish

Natural habitat, without exception, all species of salmon is located in the Northern hemisphere. South of the equator, these fish are found only in those places where they have been inhabited by man.

Migratory salmon fish lives in the Atlantic and the Pacific and in the seas related to these oceans (Black, Mediterranean, Baltic and other seas). In addition, many species are freshwater and live in rivers and lakes throughout the temperate and Northern zones of the Northern hemisphere. In the South the habitat of the salmon reaches of the Yangtze river in China, and in Africa, salmon streams are found in the Atlas mountains.

Without exception, all salmon spawn only in freshwater and, importantly, running water only in rivers and streams. Living in flow-through lakes, the fish come to spawn in the rapids of rivers and streams that feed these lakes. The return of sea salmon in the river is that their ancient ancestors were freshwater, and over time some species had migrated to the sea, retaining, however, the instinct of reproduction in fresh water. Communicating (that is, living in the sea, but spawning in rivers) – this species, which belong to the Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon.

For the vast majority of anadromous fish salmon spawning is the final stage of life, because after spawning they die. Most strictly this law applies to chum salmon, pink salmon, sockeye and other Pacific salmon. Here, for example, the Atlantic salmon some individuals survive after spawning, go back into the ocean to then get back to spawn through the year. Individuals may repeat this cycle up to four times, although this is still the exception, not the rule.

Shortly before spawning, the body of anadromous salmon begin a radical change, affecting both the appearance and internal state. In particular, their bodies change colour from silver to a bright. Also the body becomes higher, and males often grow a hump, which, incidentally, was the reason to give the salmon its name. Changes in salmon and form of the jaws, which are bent, getting a hook-like form, the teeth become larger. In parallel degenerate the gastrointestinal tract and liver, and the meat loses its elasticity and becomes thicker. Spawning salmon in its commodity-food characteristics significantly inferior to conventional salmon.

General description salmonids

The smallest representatives of the salmon are fish of the genus Whitefish – from a few centimeters. The largest are actually salmon up to two meters. Most of the big salmon fish reaching the limit of mass 70 kg is trout, Chinook salmon and several other species. Salmon live an average of about 5 years, but some 10-15 years. Record performance and weight (kilograms) and age (over 50 years) belong to the trout.

Salmon have long, flattened on the sides of the body. On the body a lateral line. Pelvic fins are located in the center of the belly. Spiny rays in pectoral and ventral fins are absent. On the back of two fin – the main center and another smaller lucky fin closer to the tail, opposite the anal fin, which is one of the key differences leaseoperating fish. In his presence or absence is easy to determine which fish belong to the salmon, and what – not.

Around the mouth, on top of the salmon has two pairs of bones – the maxillary and the premaxillary. In most species of this family in the eyes of transparent eyelids. Females do not have oviducts, or they are in their infancy, so from the ovary the eggs goes directly into the abdominal cavity.

Many species known that they have a skeleton is not fully ossified. In particular, the skull may be composed of cartilage, and the lateral processes are not fixed on the body of the vertebrae.

Salmon easily adapt its appearance and behavior to the peculiarities of external conditions, which have difficulties with their classification.

Economic value of salmon

Red salmon fish is highly valued in modern cooking, but because there is a high demand. Red caviar, which is also extracted from these fish, has long been considered unfit for human food, but today is an expensive delicacy and is also widely used in cooking.

Salmon has long occupied an important place in the economy of many coastal regions. In addition, it is known that many North American and far Eastern tribes largely lived by salmon, and if in some years the salmon were not spawning in their river, it threatened people with starvation, as during spawning of salmon harvested for the entire year.

Intensive industrial fishing of salmon began in the XX century. Especially succeeded the Japanese, who by mid-century was produced 55-60% of the global volume of salmon. The rest of the world was producing only 40-45%.

Mindless intense fishing has led to the fact that in the 1950-60-ies the population of salmon has decreased. The result has been not only a reduction in volume of catch, but the collapse of the economies of many coastal towns and villages. A characteristic example was the so-called Drift-net catastrophe that befell dozens of settlements of the Soviet Kamchatka during this period.

Today, the salmon catch of marine fish is very limited, and fishers wishing to catch him, have to get this quota. For example, in Kamchatka, one vessel is permitted to catch during the season about 600 tons of salmon. Ordinary local residents wishing to catch a fish on a fishing rod, to be issued coupons, allowing you to catch a small number of salmon for personal use.

A few softer things are a freshwater species that will not only spawn, but also live in fresh water. However, grayling and whitefish are much smaller, and the amount of fish weight in fresh water is much less than in the sea. All this leads to the fact that these fish species are of interest mainly for sport fishing, but not for industrial catches.

The decline of salmon fishing in the seas and rivers with the constant growth in demand has led to a natural result of the artificial breeding of salmon has become a very profitable business. Especially this branch of fish culture developed in countries where the first salmon was mined industrial fishing. The greatest success in this business have reached Norway, the banks that have perfect conditions for breeding salmon in the fjords. At these sea farms Norwegians grow about 1 million tons of salmon per year, providing half of the world market of this product.

Salmon in cooking

Salmon is a valuable delicacy product. It is usually consumed after heat treatment, but in some dishes it is used in the salted, dried or in its natural form.

For European cuisine in the most traditional way of cooking salmon is baking in the oven, frying pan or roasting on the grill (or the grill on the type of kebab). In Oriental cuisine fish salmon (pink, chum, etc.) is widely used in soups and salads, and the Japanese make their famous salmon sushi. At home salmon is often marinated and smoked, are used in complex dishes (soups, casseroles, pies, pates, salads, etc.)

Salmon meat has a average fat content of about 6%, protein content is about 20%. The salmon a lot of vitamins A and C as well as minerals and trace elements. The caloric value of 100 grams of salmon on average is about 140 calories, making it one of the most nutritious types of fish.

Substances contained in salmon help the body regulate cholesterol, maintain in good condition the cardiovascular system, normalizes the heart muscle, brain, liver and kidneys. But this use of salmonids is not limited. Systematic meat eating salmon lowers the risk of tumors, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Potassium and calcium, which are rich in salmon, are the building material for bones and muscles.

Don’t forget about the red caviar, which is considered an expensive delicacy. In contrast to the unimaginably expensive black caviar, which can afford only very wealthy people, red caviar available even to ordinary citizens who can indulge in it during holiday feasts.

Salmon caviar (red caviar) can be used as a separate dish (served in small bowls with a spoon), but most often it is taken to prepare all kinds of snacks – sandwiches, tartlets, canapés, etc. Eggs are added to salads, used as a filling in pancakes and other dough products. In Japanese cuisine, salmon is used for sushi. Finally, it is perfect for the role of jewellery for many cold dishes and snacks.

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