About the Species
Only farm-raised Atlantic salmon are found in U.S. seafood markets.
Commercial fishing for Atlantic salmon in the United States is prohibited. The Gulf of Maine distinct population segment (DPS) of Atlantic salmon are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Learn more about protected Atlantic salmon.
Federal and state regulations and monitoring requirements ensure that salmon farming (as practiced in the United States) has minimal impact on the environment.
Farmed salmon are incredibly efficient at converting feed to edible protein. Alternative feeds have been developed to reduce the amount of fish meal and fish oil from forage fish.
Atlantic salmon are spawned and raised in on-land hatcheries until large enough for transfer to net-pens in coastal waters.
Atlantic salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are not fed or injected with dyes. Antibiotic use is strictly limited in the United States and is prescribed only on a case-by-case basis by an on-site veterinarian.
- Spindle-like body shape – rounded, broad in the middle, and tapered at each end.
- Typical of salmon species, shape is flattened toward the sides.
- Head is relatively small, about 1/5 of body length.
- Ventral paired fins are prominent, especially on juveniles.
- Spawning females lay an average of 7,500 eggs.
- Juvenile “smolts” grow much faster in saltwater than in freshwater.
- Growth rates vary, depending on season, age, sex and population density.
- After two years at sea, adult salmon have an average length of 28 to 30 inches and a weight of 8 to 12 pounds.
- Atlantic salmon do not die after spawning.
Where They Live
- Permitting for salmon aquaculture is governed by federal, state and local governments.
- The federal agencies involved are NOAA, the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Coast Guard.
- Salmon farms must adhere to federal regulations including those in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. //
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Subsistence Fishing Regulations
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Data & Maps
Tracks the implementation of recovery actions from Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery plans.