Māori Name: warehenga
Name Scientific: Seriola lalandi
Availability: Year round
Attributes Weight: 5–15kg, up to 60kg
Attributes Length: 60–120cm, reaching 150cm
Yellowtail kingfish are widely distributed around the North Island and the northern South Island. They are roving carnivores and an open-water fish, although they do enter shallow bays, harbours, and estuaries looking for food.
Blue-green on the upper side with a silver-white belly. A yellow-to-brass coloured strip runs along the middle of the fish from the eye to the tail. The fins and tail are yellow. The body is torpedo-shaped with a small first dorsal fin, small scales, small tail-based scutes, and a large mouth that stretches back to a small eye.
New Zealand Yellowtail kingfish are part of a group of kingfish found around the Southern Hemisphere, and belong to the Carangidae family (trevallies, kingfishes).
They spawn in open coastal waters during the summer and are thought to migrate, particularly as young adults. There is a tendency to school by age, while old Yellowtail kingfish are more solitary and less migratory.
Kingfish were introduced to the Quota Management System in 2003. They are predominantly found in the northern half of the North Island. Studies suggest two stocks of kingfish off the west and east coasts, and that the east coast stock may comprise a number of sub-stocks.
Yellowtail kingfish are regarded as a sashimi grade fish by the Japanese, who farm their local species in sea cages. Commercially, the species is caught by trolling, set net, purse seine, or trawl, often as a by-catch.
Did You Know
The largest kingfish in the world are caught around New Zealand - up to 2.5 metres or 70 kilograms, as against the more usual 100 centimetres or 10-15 kilograms.
Firm, succulent flesh is the hallmark of yellow tail kingfish. The dark colouration of the flesh lightens on cooking. Yellowtail kingfish fillets hold their shape are suitable to: bake; bbq; casserole; fry; poach; smoke; steam; or sushi/raw.
When buying whole yellow tail kingfish, always check the... EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills SKIN: Bright, with a luminous sheen When buying yelow tail kingfish fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.