Yellowtail: Exploring the Cultural and Economic Context of California’s Premier Game Fish
- Author(s): Huang, Kevin
- et al.
California yellowtail are revered in Southern California as the “premiere” game fish of the region. As members of the jack family (Carangidae), these fish are renowned by recreational fishermen (anglers) for both their fight and their flavor. While the total catch was dominated by the commercial fishery in the first half of the 20th century, currently there exists only small local commercial operations that mostly serve the Southern California region. The majority of yellowtail being landed today is through the recreational fishery.
Despite the importance of the California yellowtail to Southern California’s recreational fishing industry, management of the species remains relatively static. Regulations regarding recreational take of the species have seen only minor updates to size limits since the 1960s. Furthermore, no formal stock assessment has been conducted on the Southern California yellowtail stock, and there are not currently plans to do so. Due to climate change, population growth, and a boom in interest in recreational fishing since the mid-2010s, the risk facing the health of the yellowtail fishery is quickly increasing.
This project draws attention to the California yellowtail through exploring the fish’s impact in Southern California’s economy, culture, and history. Communicated through a website dedicated to telling the story of the California yellowtail, it draws attention to the fish’s important role in the region and encourages a push for proactive management of the species. The hope is to ensure that the California yellowtail fishery will remain thriving and healthy long-term, with big and powerful fish for locals to enjoy in the future.
The website can be found here: https://kehuang2.wixsite.com/website-5