Arctic Char

Salvelinus alpinus

About This Animal

SIZE: Adults are usually 12-18 inches long and weigh approximately 2 pounds

RANGE: Northern rivers, lakes, and ponds in North America, Europe, and Asia

HABITAT: Arctic Char prefer cool, clear streams and lakes. They can be found in lakes up to an altitude of 2,600 m (8,500 ft) above sea level

DIET: Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, fish eggs, other fishes

Arctic char can live in really cold water — in fact, they live farther north than any other species of freshwater fish.  They are in the same family as trout and salmon, and like these species, vary widely in size and color across their range.  In the seafood industry, most Arctic char are produced in inland closed-circulation aquaculture. While the amount of char produced in the U.S. is small, this species is well suited for aquaculture, and there is potential for the industry to grow.

Arctic char are not considered threatened.  The rearing of Arctic char in aquaculture facilities is much more sustainable than that of its relative, Atlantic Salmon.  There is less pollution associated with char production, and their diets are less reliant on marine fish.