Also known as: Humpie, Humpback (salmon)

For the final illustration we have the smallest and the most numerous of the Pacific salmon. Pinks are also the shortest lived, completing their entire life cycle in just 2 years. Unlike the other species they have no variation in lifespan – the cycle is followed very strictly. Interestingly, this has created genetically separate odd- and even-year spawning populations which never interbreed. Rivers will usually have a majority of one or the other, occasionally completely switching over. “Humpies” are unmistakable and it’s not hard to see where they get their nickname. When entering the river to spawn, males grow an incredibly humpback. The soft pinkish green depicted here are early spawning colours; eventually they turn a dark purplish black. The white belly splotches are unique and can identify them even when spawning colours are still developing. Like Chum, Pinks go straight to sea after hatching. The large spotting on the tail is ever-present and will identify them at all times, also in salt water. It is at sea that the Pink salmon is most commercially valuable. They have been hunted and canned in Alaska since the late 1800′s and still about 400 million are killed yearly, making up most of the annual Pacific salmon catch. Maximum size is 30 inch (76 cm) and 15 lbs (7 kg), but 18-25 inch (45-60 cm) and 3-5 lbs (1.5-2 kg) is average.

Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) – spawning phase