specialist seafood exporters and traders

Pacific King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)


Pacific king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are native to the North Pacific region and its coastal rivers. They are mainly silver in colour, with a range of golden pinkish hues.

Salmon Industry

King salmon were introduced to New Zealand in the 1800s, with the intention of establishing a commercial fishery here. But numbers never reached the point where a "wild" fishery was commercially viable. However, by the late nineteenth century king salmon farms became established in the Marlborough Sounds, on the East Coast of the South Island, and at Stewart Island.

Salmon are peculiar in that they live in the sea as adults, yet swim up rivers to spawn in fresh water. Consequently, king salmon are reared from eggs in fresh water hatcheries, then grown to adulthood in saltwater pens - either in river mouths or sheltered bays.

Production of farmed salmon in 2007 was estimated to 8,570 tonnes.

Salmon Exports

Total exports of salmon in the year ended December 2009 were worth $NZ 61 million - 37% up from the year before.

The major markets for salmon are Japan and Australia that accounts for more than 70% of the total export. Another important market is the United States.

Salmon Meat Quality

King salmon flesh is an attractive dark pink to red colour. Its oil content is higher than any other salmon and it is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids. King salmon's rich flavour makes it perfect for sashimi or for baking, grilling and hot or cold smoking.

New Zealand:  King Salmon, Quinnat Salmon, Pacific Salmon, Spring Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Chinook, Salmon
Australia:  Chinook Salmon
The Netherlands:  Chinook zalm
France:  Saumon royal
Germany:  Konigslachs
Italy:  Salmone reale
Japan:  Masunosuke, Suke
Spain:  Salmon chinook
Canada:  King, Chinook
USA:  Spring Salmon, King Salmon, Chinnok Salmon