Salmon is the common name for several species of ray-finned fish in the family Salmonidae. Other fish in the same family include trout, char, grayling and whitefish. Salmon are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic (genus Salmo) and Pacific Ocean (genus Oncorhynchus). Many species of salmon have been introduced into non-native environments such as the Great Lakes of North America and Patagonia in South America. Salmon are intensively farmed in many parts of the world.
Typically, salmon are anadromous: they hatch in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. However, populations of several species are restricted to fresh water through their lives. Various species of salmon display anadromous life strategies while others display freshwater resident life strategies. Folklore has it that the fish return to the exact spot where they hatched to spawn; tracking studies have shown this to be mostly true.
The term "salmon" comes from the Latin salmo, which in turn might have originated from salire, meaning "to leap". The nine commercially important species of salmon occur in two genera. The genus Salmo contains the Atlantic salmon, found in the north Atlantic, as well as many species commonly named trout. The genus Oncorhynchus contains eight species which occur naturally only in the North Pacific. As a group, these are known as Pacific salmon. Chinook salmon have been introduced in New Zealand and Patagonia. Coho, freshwater sockeye, and Atlantic salmon have been established in Patagonia, as well.