Yellowtail

(Seriola lalandi)

Cape yellowtail, Geelstert, Yellowtail amberjack

1. What is it?

Yellowtail (Seriola lalandi) are large, schooling, fast growing fish that undergo unpredictable seasonal migrations. They have a high fertility and reach sexual maturity after 2-3 years making them fairly resilient to fishing pressure. Yellowtail are the second most commonly caught species in South Africa in the linefishery sector. A stock assessment completed in 2013 indicated that the stock is healthy and is harvested at sustainable levels.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Yellowtail are caught using the traditional linefishing methods of rod and reel or handlines operating from small ski-and deckboats. Linefishing is a relatively selective fishing method which targets a large number of species many of which are reef-associated but also includes a few pelagic species. When targeting pelagic linefish species like yellowtail, the linefishery is not likely to cause significant damage to overfished, vulnerable or ETP species, which are nearly all reef-associated. The reverse is true when targeting for reef-associated linefish species. The fishery has few discards and there are very few “non-target” species landed in the sector.

3. Where is it from?

Yellowtail are caught within the inshore zone of the western and south-western Cape Management for the sector is considered partly effective. In South Africa this sector is principally managed through a total allowable effort (TAE) limitation and there are additional restrictions to protect overfished species such as bag limits (10 pp/pd) for recreational fishers. There is some concern over the impact of the small-scale fishery rights allocation beyond the recommended TAE and the continuously growing recreational sector.