10 Honest Difference Between Red and Pink Salmon

What is the difference between red and pink salmon?

Red and pink salmon are two types of salmon that belong to the genus Oncorhynchus. They are anadromous fish mostly found in the cold Pacific Ocean.

The main difference between red and pink salmon is that red salmon becomes red in color during spawning while pink salmon does not change its color.

You May Also Enjoy: Difference between Crayfish and Lobster

Difference Between Red and Pink Salmon

Comparison Table (Red vs Pink Salmon)

CharacteristicsRed salmonPink salmon
MeaningRefers to a reddish-pink flesh used as food.Refers to pale pink flesh used as food.
Frequently used namesSockeye salmon.Humpback salmon.
ColorBecomes red during their spawning in freshwater.It does not change its color in freshwater.
Time is taken after hatchingSpends over a year in freshwater after hatching.Goes straight to the sea after hatching.
AbundanceIt is the second abundant in the Pacific Ocean.It is the most abundant in the Pacific Ocean.
Largest salmon runsLargest red salmon run in Bristol Bay, Alaska with a system of fresh and saltwater bays.The largest pink salmon run is Southeast Alaska with a mild climate, abundant rainfall, and many short streams running to the sea.
TasteRich in flavor and firm texture.Mild flavor and soft texture.
RecipeGood with other intense flavors.Good for salads or fishcakes dude to its delicate flavor.
CostIt is expensive.It is less expensive.
WeightWeighs around 6 pounds.Weighs around 4 pounds.

What is Red Salmon?

Red salmon is a reddish-pink of the sockeye salmon that is used as food. It is the second most abundant in the Pacific Ocean. It has a rich flavor and firm texture hence contributing to its expensive nature. Its red color is due to the consumption of krill.

They turn in too deep red from their bright silver skin as they move upstream to spawn. It is heavier as compared to pink salmon. It weighs 6 pounds when mature.

What is Pink Salmon?

Pink salmon is a pale pink flesh used as food. It is the most abundant salmon in the Pacific Ocean. Their flesh is light-colored and their flavor is mild and has a soft texture. It is good when eaten with salad or as fishcakes as it has a delicate flavor.

They are either sold canned, smoked, frozen, or fresh. They are referred to as humpback due to the presence of hump during spawning. They feed on small crustaceans. They are a source of omega 3 fatty acids which are necessary for brain development.

Main Differences between a Red and Pink Salmon

  1. Red salmon refers to a reddish-pink flesh used as food while pink salmon refers to a pale pink flesh used as food.
  2. Red salmon is frequently referred to as sockeye salmon while pink salmon is frequently referred to as humpback salmon.
  3. Red salmon becomes red during their spawning in the water while pink salmon remains the same during their spawning in water.
  4. Red mature salmon weighs 6 pounds while pink mature salmon weighs 4 pounds.
  5. Red salmon has a rich flavor and also has a firm texture while pink salmon has a mild flavor and soft texture.

Similarities between a Red and Pink Salmon

  1. They are both two types of salmon fish that belong to the same genus.
  2. Cooking and canning can reduce the coloration of both types of fish.
  3. Both are rich in calories, vitamins, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  4. Both live in the cold Pacific Ocean.
  5. Both are caught wild.
  6. Both are anadromous fish that live in salty water but move to freshwater during spawning.

You May Also Like: Difference between Squid and Calamari 

In Conclusion

Red salmon has a red color in its flesh and it is rich in flavor. Pink salmon has a pink color in its flesh and it is mild in flavor. Both of them live in the Pacific Ocean where the pink salmon is the most in abundance. They move to freshwater during spawning. The main feature that makes the two types of salmon different is the color of their flesh.

More sources and references: