Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7856
Title: Proximate composition changes in sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) during spawning migration
Author: Claude E. Thurston, H William Newman
Publication Year: 1962
Journal: Fishery Industrial Research
Volume: 2
Issue: 1
Pages: 15-22

When sockeye salmon enter the spawning stream, they contain about 10 percent oil and 22 percent protein.  The highest oil content is found in the belly flaps and in the dark meat (dark lateral muscle).  The fish travel for 3 to 4 months over a distance of several hundred miles to reach the spawning grounds.  Drastic changes take place in the composition of their flesh and organs during the migration:  oil reserves are nearly depleted, except in the dark meat; protein is markedly decreased; and moisture and sodium are markedly increased.