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seafood encyclopedia

Salmon: Sockeye


  • Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus nerka
  • US Market Name(s): Sockeye Salmon, Red Salmon, Blueback Salmon
  • Canada Market Name(s): Sockeye Salmon, Red Salmon, Red Sockeye Salmon

Culinary Profile

Sockeye Salmon flesh is rich in flavour and contains healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Sockeye is reputed for its rich orange flesh that stays brilliant when cooked. Sockeye flesh is moist and firm with a delicate flake.


Sockeye Salmon are one of six Pacific Salmon species. Pacific Salmon are anadromous fish that live in the Ocean until they reach an age of 2 -7 years - at which time they return to freshwater rivers to spawn. In the ocean - Sockeye Salmon are easily distinguishable from other Pacific Salmon by their slim, streamlined shape, brilliant silver colour and lack of large, black spots. During spawning - Sockeye turn varying shades of red – resulting in a brilliant scarlet fish with a green head. Sockeye Salmon grow to be about 9 pounds.


Sockeye Salmon range as far south as California and Japan - and as far north as the Canadian Arctic and Siberia. Sockeye are most abundant in river systems in both Alaska and British Columbia – the largest harvest in the world occurs in Bristol Bay in Southwestern Alaska.

Fishing Season

Sustainability Status

Sockeye Salmon populations vary – some are considered healthy while others are low. In the Pacific Northwest - one of seven Sockeye populations is listed as endangered and another one as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Almost 100% of the Sockeye purchased in the US comes from healthy stocks caught by US fisheries - primarily in Alaska. Alaskan management practices are considered highly effective and Pacific Salmon are amongst the most intensively managed fish species.

Fishy Fact: The name “Sockeye” is believed to be derived from the Coast Salish name “sukkai”. Translated - this term means “fish” - and was at one time commonly used in Southwestern British Columbia.


Available as Value Added, Commodity, Custom Packing.