The Latin name for Pink salmon is Oncorhynchus gorbuscha. Pink salmon is a salmonid that grows incredibly fast. During the first two years of the fish, it can be 70 cm long. It usually stays between 40-55 cm but during the right conditions and genetic luck the can grow up to the maximum length. The Pink salmon can weigh up to 5 kg. The Pink salmon is the smallest of the Pacific salmon. Pink salmon do not get older than two years since they die after spawning.
The Pink salmon’s body shape is oblong and coil-shaped. Before the spawning period, the males develop a hump, hence the nickname humpback salmon. In the sea, the Pink salmon is found at various depths, from surface water down to a maximum of about 50 meters. It is a cold-water fish and it thrives best in a water temperature of around 5-14 degrees Celsius. The Pink salmons that live in freshwater eat mainly insects, while those in coastal environments eat mainly crustaceans. The salmon that live out on the open sea eat larger fish, crustaceans and squid. Before it’s time to swim upstream for the spawning, the Pink salmon stops eating. The color of the pink salmon also changes and turns pink with brown spots. The jaws are reshaped and become hook-shaped, which leads to them not being fully closed. Usually pinklax is steel gray/green on the back and silver colored on the sides. On the upper part of the body, above the sideline, are the dots that are common for salmon species. In freshwater, the colors of the fish become less shimmery and the hook-shaped jaws and the characteristic hump are more marked. Originally, the Pink salmon spread over the northern part of the Pacific Ocean and the eastern parts of the Arctic Ocean. In North America, they are located from central California and north. On the Asian side, they are found from the northern parts of Japan to the river Lena in northern Siberia. The Pink salmon has also been planted in many places in the world, especially in Russia and the European parts of the Arctic Ocean. The largest plantings took place during 1950-70. The Gulf of Riga was also a popular place to get the Pink salmon to settle by planting. In the Arctic Ocean, the fish established themselves quickly and it is possible to find fry in Norway. Since the Pink salmon only lives for two years, it is easy to divide the population into those that spawn even and odd years. The Pink salmon that spawn odd years have established themselves best in European waters.
During the 1970s, about 40 individuals were found in the Baltic Sea, which were most likely specimens from the plantations in the Gulf of Riga that migrated. In 2017, a number of Pink salmon were encountered in Sweden and Jutland, as well as in and around Ireland and Scotland. These findings are likely to be derived from Arctic populations. Since it is the hills that spawn odd years that dominate the European waters, it is easy to predict when more of the species will appear.