What Is a Wild Atlantic Salmon?

wild-atlantic-salmon Credit: Keith Ringland/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

The wild Atlantic salmon is a fish of the Salmonidae family, native to the northern Atlantic Ocean and rivers flowing into it. The juvenile salmon live in freshwater rivers and streams until they migrate out to sea, eventually returning to spawn.

This silver, streamlined fish reaches an average adult length of 28 to 30 inches and weighs from 8 to 12 pounds. Once abundant, as of 2014 the species is considered threatened due to issues that include the building of dams that block spawning grounds, climate change, water contamination and competition with other species. State and federal programs are in place to help restore the wild Atlantic salmon population.