The Five Species of Wild Alaskan Salmon

Salmon is most certainly not simply salmon, especially when it’s caught wild.

As opposed to farm-raised species, typically imported from overseas and oftentimes unnaturally plump and flabby — and in some studies lacking the same concentration of critical omega-3 fatty acids — the flesh of a wild fish is firm and muscular, with a cleaner taste that chefs covet. Granted, the major drawback of wild versus farm is that farm is more often available fresh, while wild product sourced from Alaska is typically frozen at the many processing facilities lining the shores and harbors.


Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about each species (with the nickname in parentheses):

But with a premium placed on cutting-edge freezing technology, very little of the salmon’s salmon-ness is lost. Whether you are ordering at a restaurant or checking out your favorite fish shop, there are defining characteristics for each of the five species of salmon — which, as you will see, go by a variety of names.