Salmon | CUESA

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Wild salmon is found primarily in Northwest Pacific coast or Alaskan waters. The most sustainably caught sockeye salmon is brought to market through the reefnet method, which directs salmon into nets by stringing fishing gear between two boats. This method allows for the unharmed return of bycatch.

Due to the natural cycle of the salmon spawning season, salmon caught in early summer is considered more sustainable than fish caught later in the season. While Alaskan salmon populations are healthy, salmon populations in California, Oregon, and Washington (such as Chinook, aka King) have historically been overfished, with varying levels of recovery. Recent checks indicate that all populations are healthy enough to be rated a “good alternative” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Drift gillnet, purse seine, and troll gear are acceptable fishing methods in these areas. Ask your fishmonger for as much information as possible about the method of catch and point of origin.

Salmon has oily flesh and a strong, distinctive taste. Its flesh is firm and holds up to canning, where it may be used in place of canned tuna in sandwiches or casseroles. Fresh salmon steaks are hearty and ideal for grilling with citrus, the acidity of which helps break down the meat.

In Season

May, June, July, August, September

Recipes with Salmon

Cold-Cured Gravlax

Karen Solomon, author, Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs

Beet-Cured Gravlax with Kavring, Cucumber, Radish, and Lemon Verbena

Roberth Sundell, Pläj  

Smoked King Salmon, Corn Purée, Summer Squash, and Salsa Verde

Paul Burzlaff, 31st Union

Cured Salmon Three Ways

Keith Hammerich, Chef Instructor, City College of San Francisco

Articles about Salmon

June 14, 2013

Seafood for the Seasons

What’s fresh, local, and in season at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market? Find out in our new Seafood Availability Chart.

May 11, 2012

Safer Waters for Salmon

What’s the fate of local salmon? Bay Area farmers are doing their part to restore habitat for native salmon to thrive.

September 10, 2010

News Bites

FDA evaluates GM salmon, study links organic berries to nutritional benefits and the bad egg connection.

May 01, 2009

Local Salmon Update

Shogun Fish Company’s Larry Miyamura is making do. With the California salmon season canceled for the second year in a row, he’s stopped fishing. But Miyamura is still committed to offering sustainable seafood choices.

April 28, 2005

The Unique Lifecycle of Salmon

Salmon have a  unique lifecycle. After mature salmon have lived a full long life (up to five years old, depending on the subspecies), they return to the stream or river where they were born in order to spawn. Spawning is how salmon reproduce. Male and female mates swim up their native streambed in search of a good nesting sight. The female creates a nest in the gravel on the bottom of the stream by swishing her tail back and forth to create a safe little area up to 18 inches deep.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »