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Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi) Photographs and Information

This species is most commonly called kingfish, yellowtail kingfish, yellow-tailed kingfish, yellowtail, king, kingy or "kingi". Colloquial titles include "hoodlum" and "bandit", while smaller specimens are often nicknamed "rats" or nor' headers. Some confusion exists between the kingfish and two of its near relatives; the amberjack and the Samson fish, while an unrelated species, the cobia (Rachycentron canadus) is also commonly called black kingfish.

It is also known as yellowtail (Qld, SA, Tas.), kingie, Tasmanian yellowtail (Tas.); kingfish, southern yellowtail

Yellowtail Kingfish have elongated, moderately compressed bodies.  They have a slender head longer than their body depth and they have 31-34 dorsal fin rays.  They are generally blue, blueish-green or purplish green above and silver-white below.   Yellowtail Kingfish can be distinguished by their yellow caudal fins.

Habitat: A pelagic species that hang out in small schools near the coast and offshore islands and reefs. Most common around the North Island. Available year round but more so during the summer months.

kingfish1- yellowtail kingfish

Map showing areas where Yellowtail Kingfish are found in Australian waters.

Scientific Name Seriola lalandi
Location Sth QLD to TAS, SA, VIC, sth WA
Season January to May
Size 2.4 metres, 65 kg
Australian Species Code 37 337006
Taste, Texture Mild to strong flavour, firm texture.


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Yellowtail Kingfish fillet.

Kilojoules 428 (102 calories)
Protein: 21.6 g
Cholesterol 24 mg
Sodium -
Total fat (oil) 1.1 g
Saturated fat 36% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 24% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 39% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 44 mg
Omega-3, DHA 238 mg
Omega-6, AA 30 mg

Yellowtail Kingfish have elongated, moderately compressed bodies.  They have a slender head longer than their body depth and they have 31-34 dorsal fin rays.  They are generally blue, blueish-green or purplish green above and silver-white below.   Yellowtail Kingfish can be distinguished by their yellow caudal fins.

The yellowtail kingfish is a powerful, pelagic fish characterised by its bright-yellow tail. Colouration varies slightly between individuals, but is usually dark green or blue on the back, shading through metallic blue-green to silver and white or off-white on the belly. A distinct gold or yellowish stripe runs along each flank of a freshly caught kingfish.

Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi)Large schools of "rat" kingfish in the 1 to 4 kg range are often encountered, and school fish of 6 to 12 kg fish are relatively common in some areas, too. Bigger fish in the 15 to 30 kg range tend to form much smaller schools. The maximum growth potential of this species is in the excess of 60 kg.

 Kingfish are found in the cool, temperate and sub-tropical waters of Australia, New Zealand and nearby islands; including Lord Howe and Norfolk. A similar or identical fish is found off the south-western coast of North America. Kingfish mainly frequent the waters around offshore reefs, pinnacles and islands, as well as inshore reef systems, large bays and even deep estuaries. They prefer fairly clean water with a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius or more, but will occasionally stray into cooler areas.

Yellowtail Kingfish are distributed globally in the cool temperate waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans off South Africa, Japan, southern Australia and the United States of America.

In Australian waters, Yellowtail Kingfish are distributed from North Reef in Queensland around the southern coast to Trigg Island in Western Australia.  They also occur off the east coast of Tasmania, around Lord How and Norfolk Islands.

They live in inshore and continental shelf waters where they are associated with reefs, jetties and pylons.  Adult yellowtail kingfish are solitary or occur in small groups and can be found near rocky shores, reefs and islands.  Schools of juveniles are generally found in offshore waters often near or beyond the continental shelf.  They prefer waters with temperatures between 18C and 24C, although they are occasionally found in cooler water.


Fishing for Yellowtail Kingfish:

The yellowtail kingfish is a strong, exciting gamefish that strikes savagely at a wide range of lures, live baits and dead or cut flesh offerings. One of the most successful way to take them is to present a live bait such as a slimy mackerel or yellowtail scad at the depth at which the kingfish are schooling. This may involve the use of a running or fixed sinker on the line. Slow trolled live baits, large, deep diving minnow lures and metal jigs worked vertically over the seabed are also readily taken by these fish at times.


Cooking Yellowtail Kingfish:

Yellowtail kingfish have a medium to strong, distinct and pleasing flavour. They have few bones and are often sold as cutlets or steaks, but they can be cooked whole. Yellowtail kingfish are excellent when grilled or broiled and barbequed. Kingfish are great for Sushi and Sashimi.

Commercial Fishing for Yellowtail Kingfish:

The major commercial fishery for yellowtail kingfish is in New South Wales.  In Queensland, yellowtail kingfish are taken as an incidental catch in the snapper handline fishery.  They are caught by using surface or subsurface traps, trolling, bottom set longlines, poling and bottom set traps, handlines, droplines, longlines and bottom set gillnets.  They are usually marketed as whole, gilled and gutted fish.  They are sold on the domestic market in cutlet or fillet form, with better quality fish being sold for sashimi.

Yellowtail Kingfish Links & Resources





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