How Do Pacific Salmon and Atlantic Salmon Compare?

Today, we shall relate the story of two salmon species, Atlantic and Pacific, and their different kingdoms.

These fish look to be similar, yet they vary in more ways than just their native habitat area. The variations between Atlantic and Pacific salmon are vast, spanning from lifespans to genus type.

Intrigued? Fantastic! Let’s explore the fascinating world of salmon!

Difference Between Pacific Salmon and Atlantic Salmon

The two salmon species are distinguished by their habitat and size. Pacific salmon is smaller and originates in the Pacific Ocean, while Atlantic salmon is larger and originates in the Atlantic Ocean.

Pacific and Atlantic salmon are both members of the Salmonidae family, which is the sole factor that connects both species. Their genus, for example, is completely different. The Pacific salmon is a member of the Oncorhynchus genus, whereas the Atlantic salmon is a member of the Salmo genus.

There are also seven other species of Pacific salmon. Five of them reside in North American waters: the Chum, Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, and Pink. Masu and Amago are the only two that can be found in Asian seas.

On the other hand, there is just one species of Atlantic salmon, and it is recognized as precisely that. Let’s keep investigating.

Pacific Salmon Has a Shorter Life Span Than Atlantic Salmon

The life cycle of Pacific salmon varies per species, spanning anywhere from 1 to 6 years and with a maximum longevity of up to 10 years. The Atlantic salmon life cycle lasts 5 to 8 years, with a maximum documented lifetime of 13 years.

Both species are born in freshwater and spend time there before moving to the ocean, where they reach full maturity.

Both Pacific and Atlantic salmon return to freshwater to reproduce after they reach maturity. These fish know precisely where they were born, so they return there instinctively.

To get home, they must swim up to 30 to 50 kilometers against the tide each day, encountering several obstacles such as predators. But once there, it’s time to spawn!

Most people assume that salmon die once they have finished reproducing. This is true exclusively for Pacific salmon species.

Pacific salmon use all of their energy in fresh water to reach their breeding location, deposit eggs, and dig a nest. Meanwhile, they quit eating. As a result, Pacific salmon lacks the energy to return to the ocean and perishes.

Atlantic salmon, on the other hand, are more hardy and may heal, enabling them to return to the sea and begin the cycle again the following season.

Atlantic Salmon Is Usually Farm-Raised, but Pacific Salmon Is Always Wild-Caught

Farm-raised salmon spend their whole lives in enclosed environments such as saltwater bays and estuaries. Wild-caught salmon, on the other hand, live in the open ocean and freshwaters.

As a consequence, many of the Atlantic salmon species available in shops and restaurants are farm-raised. Pacific salmon, on the other hand, is virtually always fished wild.

Pacific and Atlantic Salmon Grow Different Attributes When Dwelling in Freshwater

Both Atlantic and Pacific salmon have gorgeous silver-colored scales in the water, making them quite similar. However, as soon as they enter freshwater, they begin to acquire distinctive characteristics.

As they approach closer to their hatching place, Pacific and Atlantic salmon get darker, transforming to a brown, red, green, or even a blackish color. Males of the majority of salmon species develop humped backs, bigger teeth, and hooked lower jaws.

The Pacific Chinook has an emerald sheen and a dark gray back, but in freshwater, its body darkens and its belly and fins become scarlet. Adult spawning males have bigger teeth and hook-like snouts.

The Chum salmon, another Pacific species, is iridescent blue and silver with speckling on the back. Freshwater Chums feature dark horizontal stripes along their flanks that alternate between green, red, and gray. Males get sharp teeth as well.

The back of an Atlantic salmon in ocean waters, on the other hand, is silver with brown, green, or blue overtones. When an Atlantic salmon reaches fresh water, its color changes to a bright bronze with reddish spots around its head and body.

Pacific and Atlantic Salmon Have Different Sizes

Both salmon species come in a variety of sizes, from little to huge.

The Chinook salmon is the biggest fish in the Pacific. It is 58 inches long and weighs 126 pounds. The pink species is the smallest, measuring roughly 30 inches long and weighing 7 to 12 pounds.The largest Atlantic salmon ever caught was 60 inches long and weighed more than 105 pounds. Today’s Atlantic salmon are approximately 28 to 32 inches long and weigh 7 to 12 pounds.

The Taste and Texture Difference Is Minimal

The taste and texture of salmon from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are almost identical.

Atlantic salmon is supposed to have firmer flesh and a much milder taste than Pacific salmon. Pacific salmon has smaller, more sensitive flakes, while Atlantic salmon has larger, chewier flakes.

Personal tastes will determine if there are differences in flavor or quality. However, since the taste difference is so subtle, it will be difficult to distinguish between them, particularly when served raw in dishes like sushi, sashimi, or nigiri.

Pacific and Atlantic Salmon Filets Have Different Colors

Depending on the fat ratio, the salmon flesh may be lighter or darker. The meat of Pacific salmon is thin and a deeper red hue. Atlantic salmon, on the other hand, is a fatty filet, therefore the flesh has a lighter red hue.

Pacific Salmon vs Atlantic Salmon Comparison Table

Category Pacific Salmon Atlantic Salmon
Habitat Pacific ocean Atlantic ocean
Family Salmonidae Salmonidae family
Genus Oncorhynchus Salmo
Types In North American waters: Chinook, Coho, Chum, Sockeye, and Pink salmon   In Asian waters: Masu and Amago salmon There’s one type of Atlantic salmon
Life span Most probably dies after breeding May return to the ocean and repeat the cycle
Appearance In the ocean, they have silver bodies with occasional black speckles.   They get darker in freshwaters, changing to a brown, red, green, or occasionally even a blackish tint, depending on the variety.   The males also evolve humped backs, larger teeth, and hooked lower jaws. In the ocean, they have silver bodies with occasional black speckles.   They get darker in freshwaters, changing to deep bronze with reddish dots.   The males also evolve humped backs, larger teeth, and hooked lower jaws.
Size The biggest is 58″ long and weighs 126 lb whereas the smallest one is 30″ long and weighs 7 to 12lb.   The biggest is 60″ long and over 105 lb heavy, and the average one is 28 to 32” and weighs 7 to 12lb.
Taste Richer flavor Milder flavor
Texture Small, tender flakes Big, chewy flakes
Meat color Dark red Light red

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

As seen in the table below, the nutritional profiles of Pacific and Atlantic salmon are almost identical.

If we’re being picky, Atlantic salmon contains less calories than Pacific salmon, which has less fat and more protein.

When it comes to nutrients and minerals, Pacific salmon has a substantially greater calcium content. Pacific salmon also has greater quantities of vitamin B12, magnesium, and phosphorus.

However, Atlantic salmon outperforms Pacific salmon in terms of potassium, iron, Omega-3, vitamins B5 and B6, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, and folate.

Choosing wild salmon versus farm-raised salmon is always the healthier option. Because wild salmon have a more organic diet, there is less likelihood of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in the flesh.

Both have almost the same amount of protein; a serving of farmed salmon has roughly the same amount of protein as a serving of wild salmon, but wild salmon contains more vitamins and minerals and contains less calories per serving!

Pacific Salmon vs Atlantic Salmon: Nutritional Profile

Category (4oz) Pacific Coho Salmon Atlantic Salmon
Calories 166 161
Fat 6.7g 7.2g
Protein 25g 23g
Cholesterol 51g 62g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 40.8mg 13.6mg
Potassium 479mg 555mg
Iron 0.6mg 0.9mg
Omega-3 1.49g 1.95g
Vitamin B12 4.7mcg 3.6mcg
Vitamin B5 0.9mg 1.9mg
Vitamin B6 0.6mg 0.9mg
Magnesium 35mg 32mg
Phosphorus 297mg 226mg
Zinc 0.4mg 0.7mg
Selenium 41.4mcg 41.4mcg
Thiamine 0.12mg 0.20mg
Riboflavin 0.15mg 0.40mg
Niacin 8.1mg 8.9mg
Folate 10.2mcg 28.3mcg

Can I Substitute Pacific Salmon for Atlantic Salmon and Vice Versa?

Yes, you may substitute Atlantic salmon for Pacific salmon when Pacific salmon is unavailable at your local grocery store. In fact, unless you are a gourmet and salmon expert, you won’t be able to tell the difference since they taste and feel so identical!


That concludes the tale of the two salmon. You should now be able to tell them difference at the grocery shop and make a better informed choice when purchasing one or the other.

Remember that Pacific salmon has a brighter red filet than Atlantic salmon, which has a deeper red filet. Furthermore, Pacific salmon has a richer taste and a softer texture, making it an excellent fish to pair with Basmati or Jasmine rice and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Atlantic salmon has a milder taste and chewy texture, making it suitable for dipping in hoisin or oyster sauce. Enjoy! People also enjoy How Do Baking Powder and Cream of Tartar Compare?


Why does Pacific salmon taste better than Atlantic salmon?

Pacific salmon has a deeper color, harder meat, and a more strong taste. Fresh Atlantic salmon from fish farms is often available all year, but Pacific salmon is more seasonal — dependent on the time of spawning season returns.

What is best salmon to eat?


This fish deserves its royal title. Many people believe it is the greatest fish money can buy. King salmon (also known as Chinook) is high in fat, rich, and enormous in size, and it is high in omega-3s.King

Which salmon has the least mercury?

Wild Alaskan salmon, whether King, Keta, Pink, Sockeye, or Coho salmon, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, is the greatest fish for both your health and the world. Wild Alaskan salmon is one of the best-managed fish populations in the nation, with minimal levels of pollutants such as mercury.Whether it’s Chinook or not,

What type of salmon do most restaurants use?

The salmon served in restaurants is usually farmed Atlantic salmon. This fish is endemic to North America’s east coast but is currently farmed in Europe and South America. The flesh of Atlantic salmon is pinkish-orange in color and has a moderate taste.

What is the tastiest type of salmon?

Sockeye salmon are recognized for their brilliant red meat and strong, salmon-like aroma. They’re the most delectable (and, to some, fishy) of all salmon, and they’re often marketed smoked, in high-end salmon burgers, and by the fillet.

Why isn t Wild Atlantic salmon sold?

There are very few wild Atlantic salmon left today. They are, in fact, classed as endangered in the Gulf of Maine, and their fishing has been closed since 1948.

What is the best salmon from the ocean?

Because of its high fat content and complex aromas, many seafood connoisseurs feel that Chinook is the greatest grade of wild Pacific salmons. Many nations near the Pacific Ocean catch wild-caught Pacific salmon.

What is the healthiest cleanest salmon?

The quality and flavor of salmon vary widely; wild sockeye salmon flesh is perhaps the most valuable and definitely the healthiest. Sockeye salmon is one of seven Pacific salmon species and is renowned across the globe for its firm, luscious orange flesh and delicate scent.

What is the healthiest fish to eat?

The following are the top ten nutritious fish to incorporate in your diet:
Salmon. Salmon is adaptable and one of the greatest sources of omega-3 fatty acid, which the body cannot produce on its own and must be received from diet.
Trout. Sardines.
Crab. Haddock.

What is healthier salmon or tuna?

While both are very nutritious, salmon takes the win because to its beneficial omega-3 fats and vitamin D. Tuna, on the other hand, is the victor if you want more protein and less calories per serving.

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