(Wild-caught from the U.S.)
California yellowtail is a "Good Alternative" due to moderate bycatch and management concerns and low levels of habitat damage.
Amberjack, Hiramasa, Yellowtail Jack
California yellowtail is known as hiramasa when prepared for sushi. There are many fish named yellowtail around the world and numerous market names. Be sure to ask where your yellowtail comes from.
California yellowtail is most commonly found along the Pacific coast between southern California and Baja California. A member of the jack family, it's prized as a game fish by recreational fishermen who catch nearly three times as many fish as the commercial fishery. California yellowtail begins to reproduce at a young age and produces large numbers of young, traits that help it withstand fishing pressure.
Most yellowtail is caught in drift gillnet and hook-and-line fisheries. Neither of these gears causes substantial habitat concerns, but drift gillnets catch large quantities of bycatch, including vulnerable species like marine mammals. Hook-and-line gear has low bycatch.
Yellowtail populations are believed to be healthy and robust, but the actual abundance is uncertain due to a lack of scientific involvement in the assessments. While management has been effective in maintaining the population, we need to better understand the impact of increased commercial catch in recent years.
Overall, steady population size, moderate habitat impacts and moderately effective management result in a "Good Alternative" recommendation for California yellowtail.