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Feb 10, 2013 11:58 AM

Why are my wild king salmon filets different colors?

I bought a few filets of wild king salmon yesterday, but decided I am hungrier than I thought and went back for a bit more this morning. When I got home I noticed that they were quite different colors - the filets from yesterday are the classic crayon "salmon" color like a pinkish-orange hue and the other filets are much darker red-orange closer to the color that I usually see with sockeye. I am sure this has some biological explanation but was just interested if anyone knew.

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  1. Here is a quick pic of exactly the difference that I found online.

    1. "Salmon get their striking orange-red color from eating tiny orange arthropods such as krill and shrimp. The coloring can vary from almost white to deep red. A salmon’s color depends how many and what kind of arthropods it gobbles up."


      1. If they are the same kind, the color difference is due to their diet. I live in an area where I buy the fish right off the boat and clean them myself. Many shades of salmon. My Native fishermen say the darker the flesh is from more fish and crab in their diet.

        Also, I suppose each individual fish could also be a slightly different color too, like other types of proteins we eat.

        1. Check this out, the color not only comes from what they eat, but also the abundance of a certain carotene sparing or utilizing enzyme:

          Dunno, we always look for the white kings from the local boats in Seattle , and we have for 50 years......