Yellowtail

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Abalone Aquarium Resized  

 Genetic Research Physiology Research Aquarium Research 


The Genetics, Physiology, and Aquaculture (GPA) Program conducts research in support of advancing aquaculture techniques and developing best practices for culture facilities. Due to the high value of its meat and fast growth rate, the California Yellowtail, Seriola dorsalis, is considered a good species for aquaculture development both locally in California and abroad.  However, unlike other fishes that have a long history of culture-based production (e.g., salmon), basic research on optimal rearing practices for yellowtail in captivity is still relatively early in development. Information provided by such research is critical for rearing yellowtail in a healthy, sustainable manner. Among the many important factors that must be established for a cultured organism, the GPA Program seeks to establish basic physiological metrics of health and fitness that can be used to help enhance production efficiency in this newly developing industry. Simultaneously, genetic data is gathered to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of the reproductive potential of members of broodstock populations. 

California Yellowtail is native to the waters off the coast of California, ranging from southern Washington to Mazatlán, Mexico. Yellowtail caught in Southern California are mostly from central and northern Baja California, migrating north in early spring as waters warm and heading back south in late summer and fall. S. dorsalis are active fish, traveling greater distances earlier in their lives and becoming more geographically constrained as they age. They are opportunistic feeders with a varied diet, eating small fish such as Northern Anchovy, Jack Mackerel, and Pacific Sardine, along with pelagic red crab and market squid. They are the largest fish in the family Carangidae, reaching up to 130 cm fork length and approximately 36 kg. S. dorsalis typically reach sexual maturity between 2-3 years old and are generally thought to live a maximum of 12 years.  They have a fusiform body shape with a narrow caudal peduncle and deeply forked tail. Their streamlined shape reduces drag and makes them agile, fast swimmers.