Migratory Fishes

Atlantic Salmon (salmo salar)

The Atlantic Salmon (salmo salar) is the biggest representative and giving name to a group of fishes called Salmonids. One of them is the Brown Trout.

Its original geographic range in Europe extended from the North of Portugal to the Kola peninsula in the North of Russia. In Northern America from the State of New York up to the North of Canada and Greenland, Iceland and the Faroer Islands. It covered the whole North Atlantic Region.

Germany is situated in the center of its European range. Just one hundred years ago most of the German rivers had Salmon and the River Rhine was one of the worlds most productive Salmon rivers.  

Apart from the huge numbers Salmon from the Rhine where of specially big individual size.

The scientific name „salmo salar" means "the leaping salmon". For our ancestors it was a very common sight to see these mighty and beautiful fish jump in German rivers.

The Atlantic Salmon is a long distance migratory species. Born in small streams rich with oxygen it passes its first weeks sheltered between pebbles flushed with crystal clear water.

After one or two years in fresh water it turns into a smolt.

Now showing the typical silvery colour it starts a long migration down the rivers into the sea.

Off the Northatlantic coast of Greenland, around the Faroer and Iceland the growing up Salmon spends one, two or more years and feeds on krill and baitfish.  Well fed, equipped with a sufficient fat reserve, it takes up the journey to his place of birth where it spawns and gives life to a new generation of young Salmon.  

Most of the parents die after spawning. Only a few are able to do the dangerous journey to the North Atlantic a second or even a third time.

The body shape of the Atlantic Salmon is specially adapted to swim against strong currents. On its migrations it is regularily seeking the mainstream of the river.  Hydropower stations with their deadly turbines are a special threat and a dangerous obstacle for migrating Atlantic Salmon.