The ecosystems of the Pacific Coast — from Alaska down to California — are tied together by one thing: salmon. Salmon have sustained human populations for generations and are the region’s driving ecological force, but now 28 populations of salmon are listed as threatened or endangered.

Salmon live along the coasts of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and are also intensively produced in aquaculture all over the world as well.

Salmon migrate from fresh water where they are hatched, to oceans for their adult life. When they are ready to breed, they return to their fresh water birthing place -- often to the very spot in which they were born.

Many things have contributed to the decline of Salmon species around the world, including overfishing and habitat loss or alteration in the form of dams and agriculture.

Salmon are a very popular food fish. A simple rule of thumb is that the vast majority of Atlantic salmon available on the world market are farmed (almost 99%), whereas the majority of Pacific salmon are wild caught (greater than 80%). The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Pocket Guide can help you determine what fish (including salmon) are the best choice depending on your location.