Among nature’s, most amazing migrations is the great Atlantic, and Pacific Salmon run. The salmon migrate from deep within the sea to reach their natal river beds, which may be 100s of miles inland from their birthplace.
When the salmon begin this journey, they eat nothing and rely on all their fat reserves to sustain them until they reach their destination.
As a result, after the salmon have laid and fertilized the eggs, they become exhausted after this long and tiresome journey.
Since the fish have turned gray and are at the end of their lives, their meat also tastes unappetizing. And their corpses slowly decompose and are absorbed back into the forest.
Humans can hardly get any nutrients from this, and neither can they enjoy any salmon flavor. I really don’t think you will recognize it as salmon once you eat one of these. We’re more than happy for you to try some. (Please don’t)
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Why Don’t People Eat Salmon After They Spawn?
As soon as salmon enter freshwater, they begin to deteriorate. Before the fish spawn, many of them will not be fit for human consumption.
They undergo a dramatic and rapid change from sleek, silver, and fatty to humpbacked, hooked-jawed, fanged, and discolored, especially for the males.
The color of salmon changes as the fish spawns. Pacific salmon use all of their energy during the return to their native stream, creating eggs and digging nests.
As soon as they return to freshwater, they stop eating, and they don’t have the energy to go back to the ocean after spawning. Upon entering freshwater, salmon cease to feed.
Perhaps there’s a metaphor there about males who only think of spawning, but it should go without saying. A simple pink salmon, or Humpy, for example, is a great example.
Often, they are too rotten to swim and can easily be caught by hand. The supply of Alaskan wild salmon pudding will be plentiful for anyone who can develop a market for it, but the demand may be an issue.
You need not worry about wasting them—an entire ecosystem benefits from the flood of nutrients they provide.
Salmon, and many other kinds of fish, do not taste very good after they spawn, mainly because they are low in fat.
Salmon die mainly from exhaustion and lack of food, but not all fish will die after spawning. After death, you can eat them if you wish. By eating within a short time, the meat has less time to rot (become degraded).
Are They Still Edible?
I would probably cook the live, post-spawning salmon really well, but technically it is edible. When they reach the end, the animals literally crumble to pieces. Almost all of their organs are no longer functioning, their immune system is non-existent, and their metabolism has crashed.
The brain is still catching up with that. It usually takes several minutes for them to stop moving due to infection or active decay.
Once the salmon has actually died, I wouldn’t eat it. If you don’t take action within an hour, the meat may be unsafe. Depending on the outdoor temperature, you may have much less time before it becomes tainted. Before even the animal died, it was probably contaminated.
So far, these two questions sound a lot similar to each other.
- First, they don’t eat salmon after spawning; why not?
- Why do people not eat salmon after it has died?
Salmon, after it has spawned, is not the same as a salmon that is dead. Salmon cannot spawn when they die. Spawning is the process of laying eggs for hatching, also known as salmon roe or eggs. Salmon is typically captured post-spawn and eaten after spawning, as most have been caught and killed post-spawn.
The fact remains, though, that an unexpected death is still a death. When salmon dies, everyone eats it, but the question remains how long it will be consumed after it has died.
The taste of North Atlantic salmon after spawning is just terrible. The reason is mostly that they have reduced their body fat to a great extent.
I haven’t fished for sea-run brown trout or salmon since the spawning season ended. If I am fishing in a river where the fish are on their way up to spawn, the fish I catch are released with single barbless hooks if they have changed color.
To ensure that your catch is safe this fall, Michigan State University Extension offers these tips:
- Fish with visible decay should not be kept since their flesh may contain more bacteria than a fresher fish.
- As long as possible, keep the fish alive. The mouths of these salmon are covered with bacteria, especially when they are showing signs of decay. Do not touch their teeth with your hands. To reduce additional bacteria growth, it is preferred to wait up to two hours between catching and cleaning.
- Fresh fish should be cleaned and cooled immediately after being caught. In addition, once the fish leaves the water, the flesh will deteriorate further. Your cleaned fish should be stored in an ice-filled cooler.
- When rinsing fish, make sure that the water is clean and potable. The cleaned fish should be kept on ice until processing is completed.
- Cleaning utensils before preparing fish is crucial.
- Use canning, freezing, or smoking to preserve your catch if you’re not eating it immediately. On the MSU Extension website, you can find more details about these processes.
- To cook fish properly, always ensure that it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- Undercooked or raw fish is never healthy options. Most harmful pathogens in fish are killed by freezing or cooking, but some bacteria and parasites may remain.
- It is imperative that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after handling fish.
- This time of year (fall) is great for getting out on the water and catching fish but be sure that you handle the fish properly to prevent foodborne illness along the way.
Final Words – Can You Eat Spawning Salmon
As a result, salmon in their spawning habitat have just exhausted their last reserve of energy (as fat) and, therefore, will eventually die.
Imagine driving a cow over rough terrain without allowing it to rest, eat, or drink until it collapsed and died, and then eating it. A lot of stringy, tough meat with no fat and no flavor would result.
It is not an appealing thing to look at if you’ve ever seen salmon after it spawns. Smoked salmon is sometimes made from spawned-out salmon, but the results are pretty terrible, and it’s easy to spot.