Belonging to a family of fish known collectively as the jacks, Pacific yellowtail is easily one of the most versatile game fish on the west coast. As a member of the distinctive Seriola genus (Seriola lalandi), this sleek torpedo-shaped fish is known for both sushi and grilling applications. California yellowtail is known as hiramasa when prepared for sushi, while Hamachi is the Japanese name commonly used. However it should be noted that hamachi is a slightly different species (Seriola quinqueradiata).
Wild yellowtail boasting high fat content have a clean taste and buttery texture, making them excellent for sushi applications. The fillet structure and texture of the leaner wild fish resembles that of mahi-mahi and holds up well on the grill. Flesh color and fat content of this fish varies with diet and the water temperature. Fish caught in the warmer Sea of Cortez tend to be darker and slightly leaner than those caught in the cooler open Pacific.
Yellowtail are highly migratory fish that primarily school in large numbers following near shore bait and temperature gradients. They are voracious eaters and often drive schools of mackerel, anchovies or sardines into tight circles, eating their way through the massed bait balls. Like most jack species, yellowtail are ferocious fighters on hook and line fishing gear. However, their tight schooling nature allows for a percentage of harvest to also be captured by a group of small pangas corralling the fish with hand drawn gill nets.
The population of this fish continues to be very strong in Southern California and on both sides of the Baja peninsula. Because yellowtail have a life history that makes them inherently resilient to fishing pressure, the species is recommended by our partner in sustainability, Seafood for the Future.
Seriola lalandi dorsalis
Primary Product FormsWhole, Fillets
Whole, Fillets, Collars
Hook in Line and Hand Nets
Good (Click for more info)
Rich and full without being strong
Grilled Yellowtail with Green Curry Sauce and Papaya Slaw
Yellowtail is one of our delicious local treats, caught all over Southern California and Baja California. Recipe courtesy of Chef Mitch of Mitch's Seafood.