Alaska Salmon Quality Specifications and Grades - Fresh and Frozen

Quality Specifications

Grades

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Recommended Statewide Quality Specifications
For Alaska Fresh and Frozen Wild Salmon

Part I: Description

Section 1: Product Definition

Alaska Fresh or Frozen Wild Salmon is the food prepared from only the species of salmon listed in Section 2; these species may be sold fresh or frozen, and shall be reasonably protected from oxidation and/or dehydration.

Section 2: Species

The Species which can be designated Alaska Wild Salmon are:

Species�� Common or Usual Name(s)
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Chinook, King
Oncorhynchus nerka Red, Sockeye
Oncorhynchus kisutch Coho, Cohoe, Silver
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha Pink
Oncorhynchus keta Keta, Chum


(Please click on the species names above for additional information)

Section 3: Styles of Preparation

A. Dressed, Head-off: The belly of the salmon is split from the anus to approximately one inch before the throat (isthmus of the nape); the split may also continue through the throat. The viscera and kidney (backblood) are removed leaving the cavity free of blood and pieces of membrane. The head is removed leaving the nape cut free of gill.� Water used during processing or rinsing shall be sanitized in accordance with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requirements, 18 AAC 34.080(c).

B. Dressed Head-on: The belly of the salmon is split from the anus to approximately one inch before the throat (isthmus of the nape); the split may also continue through the throat. The viscera and kidney (backblood) are removed leaving the cavity free of blood and pieces of membrane. The gills may be removed; the head and gill cover remain intact. Water used during processing or rinsing shall be sanitized in accordance with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requirements, 18 AAC 34.080(c).

C. Whole (Round) Fish: Water used during processing or rinsing shall be sanitized in accordance with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requirements, 18 AAC 34.080(c).

D. Other: As defined by a buyer/seller relationship. This category may include a variety of styles and cleaning/processing techniques depending upon the form in which the product is marketed. Water used during processing or rinsing shall be sanitized in accordance with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requirements, 18 AAC 34.080(c).

Part II: Recommended Quality Grades and Characteristics

Section 1: Quality Grades

�������� Salmon are categorized in the following grades:

�������� Premium Grade

�������� Grade A

�������� Grade B

�������� Grade C

Section 2: Quality Characteristics

A. All salmon will exhibit the following characteristics in order to meet the Premium Grade.

1. HANDLING: �All Premium fish will be bled and chilled upon harvest.� There will be no skin or internal cuts or tears. There will be no punctures or bruises.� Meat will be resilient when subjected to finger pressure.�� Scale loss will not exceed 15%.� Scale adherence will be uniform. Some scale loss due to method of harvest handling can be expected.

2. ODOR: Odor will be sea-fresh. There will be no off-odor.

3. EYES: Eyes will be normal in appearance, bright and clear.

4. GILLS: Gills will be bright red, and will smell sea-fresh and odorless.

5. SKIN: �Skin color will be characteristic of fresh fish that is typical of the species, sexual maturity, district of harvest, and time of year it was harvested. (Refer to ASMI Skin Color Evaluation Guide for Pacific Salmon). Skin will be bright, shiny, and not hold wrinkles when bending fish slightly. There will be no skin indentations, perforations or scars.� Slime will be clear. There will be no tail damage or fin loss.

6. BELLY CAVITY: Color will be bright and natural. There will be no belly burn or protruding ribs.� The belly will be free of viscera and the collar free of gill membrane.

7. MEAT COLOR: Meat color will be characteristic of fish that is typical of the species, district of harvest, and time of year harvested. (Refer to ASMI Meat Color Guide for Wild Alaska Salmon).

8. PHYSICAL SHAPE: Physical shape will be characteristic of the species at its stage of sexual maturity.

Deviations from the above characteristics are cause to downgrade salmon from� Premium Grade.

1. Grade A.� Same as Premium Grade with the following exceptions: Bleeding will be optional.� Scars may be present if less than 1" and well healed. There may be one skin cut less than 1". Scale loss will not exceed 25%. There may be up to 2 protruding ribs.

2. Grade B.� Same as Grade A with the following exceptions: Smell may be neutral. Eyes may be dull, but not milky or cloudy. There may be slight to moderate indentations, scars up to 1.5" in size, and one skin cut up to 1.5".� Scale loss may not exceed 40%.� There can be no tail damage and fin loss will not exceed 50%. There may be slight fading of belly lining natural color and slight discoloration. There may be slight belly burn with up to 6 protruding ribs. There may be internal cuts not to exceed 0.5" total. There may be no viscera, but traces of blood acceptable.

3. Grade C.� Same as Grade B with the following exceptions: There may be slight odor, eyes milky or cloudy, and gills pink to buff. Slime may be dull and copious.� Scars and punctures will be allowed. Cuts and scale loss may be more than Grade B.� Tail damage may be present and fin loss may be more than Grade B.� Belly cavity discoloration may be more than Grade B. Bruising, belly burn, and cuts, may be more than Grade B.� Viscera traces and blood more than Grade B.

B. Any, or a combination of the following defects are cause to downgrade a frozen salmon from Premium, depending upon the severity:

1. Improper handling: A salmon which has been frozen in a misshapen or severely deformed position or one which has experienced any tail damage. This does not apply to minor changes in the symmetry which may occur during freezing.

2. Natural defects and improper workmanship: Any of the defects listed in the fresh fish grading criteria which are determined, upon nondestructive examination, to exist in frozen fish.

3. Dehydration/freezer burn: A fish which has readily discernible dehydration present on the nape and/or in the belly cavity that is not adequately trimmed.

4. Scale loss: A salmon exhibiting over 15% scale loss, if other defective conditions are apparent.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Recommended Quality Grades for Wild Alaska Salmon

Characteristics
Handling
Premium Grade
Grade A
Grade B
Grade C
bled

yes

optional

not applicable

not applicable

chilled

yes

yes

not applicable

not applicable

skin cuts

no cuts

one cut less than 1"

one cut up to 1.5"

more than grade B

internal cuts

no cuts or tears

no cuts or tears

not more than 0.5" total length of cuts and tears

more than grade B

punctures

no punctures

no punctures

no punctures

punctures allowed

bruising

no bruises

no bruises

slight bruising acceptable

more than grade B

scale loss

not to exceed 15% loss

not to exceed 25% loss

not to exceed 40% loss

more than grade B

ODOR

fresh smell

fresh smell

neutral

slight, not offensive

EYES

bright, clear

bright, clear

dull, not milky or cloudy

milky or cloudy

GILLS

bright red

red

pink

pink to buff

SKIN        

color**

**

**

**

**

slime

clear

clear

cloudy

dull and copious

net marks

no indentations or skin perforations; no broken backbones

no indentations or skin perforations; no broken backbones

slight to moderate indentations

may have moderate indentations; skin may be perforated

scars

none

less than 1", well healed

up to 1.5" , well healed

scars permitted

tail/fins

no tail damage or� fin loss

no tail damage or fin loss

no tail damage; fin loss to 50%

more than grade B

BELLY CAVITY        

color

bright natural color

bright natural color

slight fading of natural color; slight discoloration acceptable

more than grade B

belly burn

none; no protruding ribs

none; up to 2 protruding ribs� acceptable

slight belly burn, up to 6 protruding ribs

more than grade B

cleaning

thorough; no viscera of any kind; collar trimmed,

thorough; no viscera of any kind, collar trimmed

thorough; no viscera of any kind; traces of blood ok

more than grade B

MEAT COLOR*

*

*

*

*

**Skin Color: Wild Alaska salmon skin color is variable depending on species, location of harvest, sexual maturity, and is not correlated with grades.� Users are referred to the ASMI "Color Evaluation Guide for Pacific Salmon".�

*Meat color: Meat color is variable depending on species, location of harvest, sexual maturity and is not correlated with grades.� Chinook salmon have both red and white meat.� Coho salmon meat color ranges from pinkish-red to pale pink .� Sockeye salmon meat color is red.� Chum & Pink salmon users are referred to the ASMI "Meat Color Guide for Wild Alaska Chum Salmon", and "Meat Color Guide for Wild Alaska Pink Salmon".

Typical Weight Grades for Wild Alaska Salmon
(in pounds)

Chinook (King)

4 to 7

7 to 11

11 to 18

18 and up

 

Chum

4 to 6

6 to 9

9 and up

or 9 to 12

12 and up

Coho (Silver)

2 to 4

4 to 6

6 to 9

9 and up

 

Pink

2 to 3

3 to 5

5 and up

or 5 to 7

7 and up

Sockeye (Red)

2 to 4

4 to 6

6 to 9

   

Click here to download an Adobe Acrobat version of the Salmon grades tables.