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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fish Bulletin No. 110. A Study of The Yellowtail Seriola Dorsalis (Gill)


The yellowtail enjoys an unique position among California marine fishes. As a sportfish it is highly favored and one of the most sought-after. The beginner and veteran angler both hold it in high regard for its fighting ability. As a commercial species, yellowtail definitely take a back seat, being relegated to at least a second-rate position in desirability.

It is the largest member of the jack family, Carangidae, found in California waters. Their geographical distribution at one time or another has covered the area from southern Washington, (Hubbs, 1948) to Mazatlan, Mexico. In the Gulf of California it ranges only as far north as the vicinity of Los Angeles Bay, Baja California. The present economic range is from Los Angeles County, California to Cape San Lucas, Baja California.

Decreased catches in the area fished by California anglers during the years immediately following World War II caused considerable apprehension and led directly to the establishment of this investigation in January, 1952. The principal objectives of the study were to determine: the geographic origin of the yellowtail appearing each year in the areas fished by California-based anglers; the effects of fishing on the population; and, life history information on which to base wise management practices.

The material for life history studies was obtained throughout the year from three principal sources—fish sampled at the canneries, specimens saved in conjunction with tagging operations and catches made by anglers on party fishing vessels.

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