Arctic char is a member of the trout and salmon family, and it physically resembles the salmon. Its silvery skin is dappled with pink along the lateral line, and the fish sports green and blue coloration on its back and upper sides. Arctic char is also anadromous like salmon, migrating from northern lakes to saltwater to spawn. But, instead of dying afterward like its salmon cousin, the char can live for 25 years. The Inuit of Canada have enjoyed char for hundreds of years; they freeze the fish and eat them like Popsicles. Wild-harvested char come from remote, icy waters of Europe, Asia and North America. Northern Canada is the prime supplier, with Iceland close behind. These two are also the major suppliers of farmed char. The typical market size for the fish is between 2 and 8 pounds. Some farms raise pan-sized fish weighing 8 to 10 ounces. In Canada, gillnets, weirs and trap nets are used to harvest wild Arctic char.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.