E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Oncorhynchus keta (Walbaum, 1792)
Chum Salmon
Family: Salmonidae

© Les Leighton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7052)


Distribution of Oncorhynchus keta in British Columbia.
Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
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Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10 - 14; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 13 - 17; Vertebrae: 59 - 71. Distinguished by the lack of distinct black spots on the back and tail and by the presence of 18 to 28 short, stout, smooth gill rakers on the first arch (Ref. 27547). Pelvic fins with axillary process; caudal truncate to slightly emarginate (Ref. 27547). Large individuals are steel-blue dorsally, with speckles of black; silver on the sides; silvery to white ventrally. Males have tinges of black on the tips of its caudal, anal and pectoral fins. Spawning males are dark olive to black dorsally; grey-red with green vertical bars on the sides; dark grey ventrally; anal and pelvic fins with white tips. Spawning females resemble spawning males but less distinctly marked.

Source: FishBase. Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr 1991 A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.

Biology

Species Biology

Inhabits ocean and coastal streams. Migrating fry form schools in estuaries, remain close to shore for a few months and finally disperse to enter the sea (Ref. 1998). Epipelagic (Ref. 58426). Juveniles and adults feed mainly on copepods, tunicates and euphausiids but also on pteropods, squid and small fishes (Ref. 1998). Adults cease feeding in freshwater (Ref. 1998). Males and females die after spawning. The catch is mostly canned but also sold fresh, dried-salted, smoked, and frozen. Eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved, and baked (Ref. 9988).

Source: FishBase. Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr 1991 A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.

Distribution

BC Distribution and Notes

The chum salmon is still abundant along the B.C. coast. There are some interesting life history variants in this species — temporally separated runs to the same small streams are common and some populations spawn intertidally. Of special interest are two northern runs. Most chum runs spawn within 100 km of the sea but there is a run of chum salmon in the Yukon system that reaches Teslin Lake (>2,000 km from the sea). Unlike southern chums, these Yukon fish are bright when they enter freshwater and in good condition when they reach their spawning grounds. The other northern run of potential interest is in the Liard River (Mackenzie system). Chum salmon have reached the lower Liard River in B.C.; however, it is not clear that there is a self-sustaining run in the Liard. Interestingly, this chum run was reported the same year as the Arctic cisco run into B.C. Perhaps it was only an anomalous year but, if there is a self-sustaining run, it is of considerable interest.

Source: Information provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC.
Global Distribution

North Pacific: Korea (Ref. 1998), Japan, Okhotsk and Bering Sea (Ref. 1998), Arctic Alaska south to San Diego, California, USA. Import restricted in Germany (Anl. 3 BArtSchV). Asia: Iran (Ref. 39702).

Source: FishBase. Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr 1991 A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.
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Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
NativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References


Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2021-01-24 6:20:38 PM]
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