Yellowtail is a confusing name, as it can apply to flounder, tuna and sole. It’s also the common name for several species of amberjack, sleek migratory tuna-like fish found off both U.S. coasts. The most valuable member of this family is the yellowtail farmed in Japan and featured in U.S. sushi bars under the name hamachi. The fish is prized for eating raw and commands a premium price in Japanese markets. Raised in cages in Japan’s Inland Sea, hamachi are harvested at around 15 to 20 pounds. Upon harvesting, the fish are iced and handled with great care to prevent bruising of the flesh, which lowers its value as sashimi. A small amount of hamachi is harvested wild off the coast of central Japan. Another yellowtail species (Seriola lalandei) is harvested wild off southern California and Baja, California and farmed in Mexico and Australia. While amberjacks are subject to parasite infestation in the wild, this is not a problem with farmed hamachi.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.