Is This the Most Expensive Salmon in the World? [Oh Yeah]

Most Expensive Salmon in the World

High quality fish is tasty, healthy, but it can also be very expensive. Of course, some species of fish can reach extreme prices.

Among those species is definitely salmon. Some types of it are considered to be the best in the world, and those who want to try it will have to pay a lot.

The most expensive salmon is the king salmon, also known as chinook. It is large, fatty, has a smooth and “creamy” texture, and it is very rich in omega 3 fatty acids. And among them, Ora King salmon and Copper River salmon are the most appreciated.

These salmons are farmed across the world, and some of the best manufacturers are located in New Zealand.

Of course, it can be caught in the wild too, however, wild population can’t sustain humankind needs for this delicious fish.

Here I will tell you more about expensive salmons and explain basics about their price and differences.



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What is the Most Expensive Salmon Type in the World?

The most expensive salmon in the world is king salmon, both farmed and wild. There are two among those that stand out and those are Ora King and Copper River.

Word Ora originates from New Zealand, meaning fresh.

Manufacturers in New Zealand have some of the best farming processes around the world and their product is both tasty and more eco friendly than the same product from competitors around the world.

Another pricey type is Cooper River salmon, and that is a special treat for the consumers. Its availability is limited, and this salmon type is caught in the wild. It is caught during a short period of time, when these fish move through Alaskan Copper River.

Meat quality of this salmon is incredible, and theories behind it say that it is because of the river itself. Copper river is rough and cold, so salmon needs a lot of fatty acids for energy to be able to navigate these harsh waters.

Comparing farmed and wild salmon can be done in many aspects, including price, sustainability, but also meat quality. And in the latter one, wild always wins.

What Makes this Salmon so Expensive?

Most expensive salmon have to justify the high price somehow, so what makes it so pricey?

RARITY - Among all types of salmon, king salmon is the rarest (not just in the wild, but in farms too). When you add a limited amount of time when it can be caught, you get the high price.

QUOTAS – when fishing for wild fish, you can’t exterminate them. Healthy population is important to continue breeding, and you are restricted by law. This means that you are allowed to catch only a certain amount.

MEAT QUALITY – high quality meat that is not just nutritious but also very tasty dictates the price.

SUPLY AND DEMAND – people love delicious and high-quality food. There is a huge demand on limited product, so consumers are ready to pay a high price to get it.

HABITAT LOSS – wild salmon numbers are decreasing from year to year, and this makes them more rare and more expensive.

As you can see, a lot of factors dictate the salmon price. Unfortunately, we can assume that the prices will increase more in the following years.

Here is one interesting fact (stats). In the USA, 9.9 million pounds of king salmon are caught in the wild (and only a fraction of it is Copper River), while 290 million pounds of sockeye salmon is caught yearly.

And when talking about farm raised salmon, there are similar factors that affect it.

FARMING PROCESS – farming fish, especially high quality like Ora King salmon is not an easy process. Some types are raised for 5 years before they are ready for consumption. If you add sustainable and eco friendly procedures, that also increases price

FARMING COMPANIES – not a lot of companies’ farm king salmon types, when compared to other types of salmon. So, again, we go to supply and demand circle.

Here also, prices tend to rise in the future.

Most Expensive Salmon in the World - Habitat

Copper River vs. Ora King Salmon: What's the Difference?

Copper River salmon, as already described, is a wild salmon. Ora King salmon on the other hand, is farmed.

High quality farming relies a lot on specialized foods that are nutritious for the fish and imitate natural nutrient intake. Low quality farming is all about fast growing, so many of these nutrients are ignored in order to make a fish grow as fast as possible, for profit of course. This reduces quality of meat. Ora King salmon is known as a complete opposite in the farming world. Those fish grow slower and live more natural. All of this makes the meat incredibly tasty.

Copper River salmon breed, hatch, grow, and feed in the wild. They move more, lead much different fish “lifestyle” and the meat quality can’t be compared to anything. Wild salmon is always number one!

Interesting fact here is that Ora king, although farmed, can reach a higher price than some less popular wild salmon types, like sockeye.

What's the Price for Copper River and Ora King Salmon?

Prices can vary significantly around the world. It depends on where it was farmed or caught, and how was it transported to your local area.

If you are importing Ora King from New Zealand, you can expect a very high price due to transport. However, consumers appreciate fresh product, so local resellers or restaurants pay a high price to get a fresh fish straight from the water.

In addition, your local taxes will determine the final price. Here I will give you some estimates and end prices that you are most likely to pay to enjoy this delicacy.

Copper River salmon price depends on a few factors. Are you buying the whole fish, or fillets? Premium Copper River salmon that weights 10 pounds is sold for about $90 per pound. It is $900 for one fish!

Fillets cost even more, around $130 per pound. Some companies offer this salmon type for as low as $30 or $35 per pound, however, that is not the end price, nor it is a premium specimen of Copper River salmon. Despite that, even the cheaper ones are not cheap, and they are still top-quality meat.

To save a bit of money, you can opt for farmed salmon. Ora King salmon price can vary significantly. Fillets, that are the most expensive option to buy, cost anywhere between $15 and $115 per fillet. Large fillets are the most expensive, especially without skin. Their weight is around 3 and a half pounds, and at $115 this makes it more than $30 per pound!

But, if you are not that picky, and want to enjoy a smaller fillet with skin, or any other cut, price can go down significantly.

Where Could You Buy The Most Expensive Salmon in the World?

These expensive salmon types are not available everywhere. You will not find those in local supermarkets unless you maybe live across the river. Sure, there is Copper River salmon available at Costco, but that is not premium version, and that fish is not quite fresh. Even if advertised as fresh, there is a high chance that it had been previously frozen.

The easiest way to enjoy the taste and skip the buying process and food preparation is to check some nice restaurants in the area and see if they serve such a premium fish. However, that will cost a fortune.

If you are looking for a cheaper option, you should buy it yourself. You can do so in local fish markets or premium stores that sell top quality product. And if those are not available in your area, or they are not reselling Copper River salmon, then you will have to order it.

Some resellers offer delivery services; however, it can be quite pricey. Delivery itself can cost more than $50, and when that is added to fish price, it becomes quite expensive.

Here are some useful links for USA customers:

Copper River King Salmon

Copper River Salmon (Fish Finder)

Copper River Salmon Fillets

Ora King can be bought at stores and official resellers across the world. You can find a list of those online. Here is a useful link:

Unfortunately, many of these Ora King resellers sell the frozen product. Some very demanding customers that want a fresh product may have a hard time getting it.

Most Expensive Salmon in the World - Price

Best Way To Prepare the Most Expensive Salmon?

When you buy the most expensive salmon fish, you have to know how to prepare it to get the most of it. It would be a shame to destroy it by inadequate cooking.

When it comes to foods like this that have incredible natural taste, I always advise people that “less is more”. Avoid strong spices, sauces, or anything that will “kill” the delicate flavour of fish. You want to make the taste of salmon stand out among other ingredients, side dishes, and spices used.

The easiest way is using a pan, or an oven. I prefer the oven for this fish, and I like to eat fillets.

Here is one simple recipe that gives the best results:


• Salmon fillet of a desired size
• Olive oil
• Salt
• Pepper


STEP #1: Preheat the oven to about 180 C / 350 F.
STEP #2: Use basting brush to oil the fillet.
STEP #3: Add salt and pepper in a desired amount.
STEP #4: Place it in a baking pan that is also oiled, skin down. Of the fillet is without skin, place it on a parchment paper.
STEP #5: Cover the pan if you want the meat to be soft and tender, or leave the pan open if you like it more roasty.
STEP #6: Place it in the oven and process for about 15 minutes, or around 4 minutes per 1 centimetre of fillet thickness.

And that’s it! Serve with steamed or roasted vegetables, potatoes, or any mild tasting side dish you like. You can add some lemon or herbs for you or your guests to add if they want.

Most Expensive Salmon in the World - Prepare


The most expensive salmon may cost more than seems reasonable, but there are reasons for that. Top quality meat and rich taste are something that can’t be replaced by any other similar foods.

Wild caught and fresh fish is the tastiest among all, and customers around the world will pay a premium price to enjoy it.

Here is one more interesting fact: the most expensive whole salmon fish ever sold to a private customer reached a price of $1700!

If you have a chance to try some Copper River or Ora King, I advise you to do so!

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