Products

Coho Salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Market Name(s): Silver salmon. Silver bullets (troll).

Contact Purchasing
Coho Salmon
  • Primary Source: Alaska, B.C., Washington
  • Season: Wild: July - October; Farmed: December - March
  • Primary Fishing Method: Gillnet, troll, farmed in net pens.

Size Range:

Max Size: 20 lbs

Avg. Size: 6-15 lbs

Product forms:

FRESH: H&G, skin-on, pinbone-in fillets;

FROZEN: H&G, skinless, boneless portions.

Storage & Handling

Properly handled and well iced at 32°F, cohos will remain in good condition for up to 14 days after harvest. Frozen cohos will remain in good condition up to a year if stored at -5° to -15°F.

Cooking Suggestions

Coho salmon have a bright red color flesh — similar to that of sockeyes. Though the oil content is lower than sockeyes or kings, coho salmon still boast a relatively high oil content, which makes them excellent on the grill, baked or broiled. Coho, like sockeye or king, is excellent with very little preparation. A little lemon or marinade will accompany this fish nicely, although more complex sauces will also work well.

Selling Points

  • Similar market appeal as sockeyes, but available for slightly less.
  • High-quality cohos are an excellent fish with appealing red meat color.
  • Adds variety to a menu or a seafood case--change of pace from farmed salmon.

Defects

  • Soft flesh.
  • Bones protruding from belly cavity.
  • Reddish skin. Excessive gaping in fillets (some allowed in PBO fillets).
  • Net marks on trolled fish.
  • Seal bites and/or scars on wild fish.

The Pacific Advantage

  • Source from all openings in Alaska and Pacific Northwest
  • Primary supplier of Copper River and Young’s Bay cohos, considered the best on the market
  • Advanced transportation system ensures freshest possible product
  • Good supply of fresh and frozen farmed Chilean coho

Summary

Cohos are the salmon family's best kept secret. The resource isn’t that big, but it is considered to be an excellent eating fish, and a great alternative to the more well known king or sockeye. Cohos, or “silvers” (the market name) can be a great salmon for the money.

Worldwide, about 100,000 tons of farmed and wild cohos are produced each year, about 70% of which is farmed. Chile, which harvests about 60,000 tons of farmed cohos a year, is the world’s leading producer.

Almost all the farmed coho production is consumed in Japan, where it is sold as lightly salted (tei-en) fillets in supermarkets.

In North America, salmon fishermen catch about 25,000 tons of cohos each year. More than 80% of this harvest comes from Alaska, where cohos are fished from July to September.

About 40% of the North American coho harvest is caught by trollers, a high percentage of which freeze their fish at sea. As this fish is handled one at a time and bled while still alive, it is considered a premium product.

Troll-caught frozen-at-sea (FAS) coho is considered the highest quality coho you can buy. Keep in mind, though, that not all fishermen handle their fish the same and FAS is no guarantee of quality.

The price and availability of cohos are directly related to conditions in the Japanese sockeye market. If sockeye harvests are large, the demand for cohos in Japan, where both species compete in the market for “red-meated” salmon, is likely to be weak, prices will be low and good supplies will be available for the U.S. market.

As a rule, the bigger the salmon, the higher the yield--and the higher the price. But that’s not always the case with cohos, as the Japanese market places a premium on 4 to 6-lb. fish, which are the ideal size for supermarkets. As a result, larger 6 to 9-pound cohos sell for a slight discount in Japan.

Voracious eaters, cohos gain weight rapidly prior to entering their natal river. As a result, cohos caught later in the summer tend to be larger fish.

As is the case with all wild salmon, the oil content of a fish will vary widely from run to run, depending upon how far the fish has to swim upstream before it spawns. The higher the oil content, the more flavorful the fish.

A small percentage of the wild coho catch from some runs will already have started to mature and their skin will have a red blush to it. Although these fish may be sold as “red salmon,” don’t confuse them with sockeyes, the real red salmon.