Salmon Life Cycle
In the fall, salmon deposit eggs in gravel nests. Adult salmon die after spawning.
Aquaculture workers fertilize eggs with milt from spawning salmon. The eggs are incubated in the hatchery.
Alevin hatch from the eggs and remain in their nests until they absorb their yolk sac. In the spring, they emerge as fry.
Once alevin turn to fry in a hatchery, they are moved into raceways or net pens where they continue to grow.
Fry spend one or two years in fresh water. They grow and develop parr marks to help avoid predators.
Salmon incubated in hatcheries become fry and smolt. In the spring, they are released into lakes or oceans.
When fry turn silver, they are called smolt.
Hatcheries improve the survival of young salmon because there are no predators and the environment is more controlled.
Salmon mature after one to three years in the ocean.
Salmon transport nutrients in ecosystems, and support commercial, sport, subsistence, and personal use fishing.
In the summer and fall, adults return to their original spawning areas or the place they were released by an Alaskan hatchery.
And the life cycle begins again…
Photo by Kenny Regan