Illustration of Yellowtail

Yellowtail

Filters

Seafood Variety

Harvest Method

Regions

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

California yellowtail

Seriola lalandi

Method

Wild

Handline

Location

California

Overall Rating

3.4 / 5

Summary

California yellowtail is predominantly caught incidentally in the white seabass fishery and landings have increased in recent years, from averaging around 2 mt/yr between 2008 and 2013, to 25 mt in 2015. Exports are negligible. Stock status of California yellowtail is unknown, but the species is not considered highly vulnerable and there are no bycatch concerns. Management conservation measures area considered moderately effective, however, there is no management plan specific for yellowtail. Habitat impacts are minimal and while no spatial management or other policies to protect ecosystem functioning are currently in place, a multi-species, ecosystem-based management approach is in development.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Almaco jack (Hamachi, yellowtail, amberjack, kampachi)

Seriola rivoliana

Method

Farmed

Submersible net pen

Location

Hawaii

Overall Rating

5.8 / 10

Summary

Almaco jack is also known as Hamachi, amberjack or yellowtail. Current production of almaco jack in submersible marine net pens is limited to one operation in Hawaii called Blue Ocean Mariculture. Production started in 2005 with the first net pen submersed 200 feet deep. Fish stay in the net pens for 10-12 months until their market size of about 2kg is reached. There are 4 pens in operation and the facility is planning on expanding production. Production has increased from 26 metric tonnes in 2005 to 500 metric tonnes in 2013. Minimal amounts of the product are exported out of the US.

Almaco jacks grow quickly and are in demand worldwide. Hawaiian production of almaco jack relies on wild broodstock of which about 10 individuals are taken from the wild per year. The wild population is not threatened or endangered. Data availability is moderate. Management monitors environmental impacts of the farm via regular testing. Results are published publically. Other regulations include siting permits and biomass limits.

The feed used in the culture of almaco jack is comprised of sustainable fish such as Peruvian anchovies and Gulf menhaden. However, the amount of fish protein required is quite high. This puts pressure on wild fisheries to support the cultured almaco jacks. The open system of the submersed net pens allows the possibility of escapes. Broodstock is sourced from the wild native population; therefore in the event of escapes, the fish would not change the genetic quality of the wild populations. Disease outbreaks are rare although open farms carry the risk of transferring parasites or pathogens to the wild population. As the cultured almaco jack are genetically related to the wild population, this facilitates potential disease transfer.

Open aquaculture systems generally risk impacts on the surrounding environment due to the uncontained nature of the operation. However, monitoring of the environment surrounding the submersible pens has shown that effluents do not negatively affect the ecosystem. Mitigation of effluent impacts is achieved through strict water quality regulations. In addition to water quality monitoring, benthic monitoring is also performed regularly. Ecosystem functions have not been observed to have been affected according to a 6 year research project which focused on the impacts of the almaco jack farm in Hawaii. Chemicals other than hydrogen peroxide, which degrades rapidly, are minimally used and strictly regulated.

Learn more about harvest methods

  • Submersible net pen
Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Greater amberjack

Seriola dumerili

Method

Wild

Diver

Location

US Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

2.9 / 5

Summary

Although the Gulf of Mexico Greater Amberjack stock is overfished, the diver (spear) fishery has low levels of associated bycatch and limited contact with bottom substrates, preserving the habitat. Greater amberjack is not reported as an imported or exported species in the U.S.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

California yellowtail

Seriola lalandi

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Drift gillnet

Location

California

Overall Rating

2.3-2.4 / 5

Summary

California yellowtail is predominantly caught incidentally in the white seabass fishery and landings have increased in recent years, from averaging around 2 mt/yr between 2008 and 2013, to 25 mt in 2015. Exports are negligible. Stock status of California yellowtail is unknown, but the species is not considered highly vulnerable. However, bycatch in the net fisheries is a high concern, with risk to endangered humpback whales and vulnerable white sharks. Management conservation measures area considered moderately effective, however, there is no management plan specific for yellowtail. Habitat impacts are minimal and while no spatial management or other policies to protect ecosystem functioning are currently in place, a multi-species, ecosystem-based management approach is in development.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Hamachi, Yellowtail, kingfish, amberjack

Seriola spp.

Method

Farmed

Open net pen

Location

Japan

Overall Rating

1.1 / 10

Summary

Japan is the main producer of yellowtail imported into the US. In 2013, 5,572mt were exported from Japan to the US. Yellowtail is mainly used in sushi and sashimi, and Japan produces 99% of the commercially reported yellowtail in the world. The effluent released from the open net pens is of concern due to the high levels of waste discharged, and lack of regulations. High levels of antibiotics are used widely. These include antibiotics that are highly or critically important to human health according to the World Health Organization. There is strong evidence showing antibiotic resistance in bacteria around the aquaculture sites in Japan. This is a serious concern for the environment as well as human health. The aquaculture operation requires about 6-10lbs of wild fish feed to produce 1lb of yellowtail, which puts fishing pressure on wild fish populations. Although fish are vaccinated, parasitic and bacterial pathogens cause regular outbreaks of disease. The aquaculture operation relies on wild yellowtail populations as a source of broodstock, therefore contributing to the fishing pressure on wild yellowtail.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Greater amberjack

Seriola dumerili

Method

Wild

Handline

Location

US Gulf of Mexico, US Southeast Atlantic

Overall Rating

2.7 / 5

Summary

Greater amberjack is found globally in tropical and temperate oceans including the east coast of the Unites States, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean.  In the Southeast Atlantic, both the handline and diver fisheries capture species that are overfished such as hogfish, red snapper, gray trigger fish, and red porgy. While in the Gulf of Mexico, the handline fishery is associated with bycatch of species of concern such as the warsaw grouper and the red snapper.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Greater amberjack

Seriola dumerili

Method

Wild

Handline

Location

US South Atlantic

Overall Rating

N/A / 5

Summary

Kampachi raised in submersible net pens in Hawaii is a sustainable alternative.

Learn more about harvest methods