Profile close-up of a sockeye salmon

Sockeye salmon

Sockeye salmon live in the northern Pacific Ocean, but breed in freshwater. They return to the freshwater systems of their birth in June and July, guided home by the characteristic odour of their parent stream. During spawning, each female deposits 2,000 eggs then both the males and females die soon after. Young salmon mature in the freshwater nurseries, and at two years of age finally depart for the open ocean. There are also landlocked populations of the sockeye that never return to the sea.

Scientific name: Oncorhynchus nerka

Rank: Species

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The Sockeye salmon can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, North America, Russia. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Sockeye salmon distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Stable

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Bony fish
  5. Ray-finned fishes
  6. Salmoniformes
  7. Salmon family
  8. Oncorhynchus
  9. Sockeye salmon

BBC News about Sockeye salmon