Few species bear more striking looks than a yellowtail fish. Nicknamed sushi for its popularity in sushi restaurants, it has a tapered shape with one end boasting an easily recognizable yellow fin.

Let’s discover more interesting bits about this subtropical and cool-water edible fish.

What fish is yellowtail

Commonly called  yellowtail amberjack, yellowtail is a relatively large fish, common in both warm and cool water regions across the Pacific and the Atlantic. It belongs to a genus  Seriola where it has 8 other ‘amberjack’ cousins.

In bodily measurements, yellowtail fish sushi grows long from at least 80 centimeters (buri size in Japanese) and can reach up to 250 centimeters or seven feet. In color, it has a yellow stripe on its midline, culminating in a purely yellow tail fin. Adults weigh 80 Ib, while in terms of appearance they have a spindle shape tapering towards the head and the tail fin, aspects that give these fish a signature look.

What kind of fish is yellowtail

The yellowtail is a kind of edible fish that belongs to a family that boasts long-bodied sea fish that exceeds a meter in length and are heavy, with adults averaging from 8 to 37 kgs. The word ‘sushi’ is associated with it because amberjacks are the popular traps for Japan-style fish-eating points.

This kind of fish is propagated both at home ponds and in natural habitats at sea, especially in its native Sea of Japan and East China Sea. It is one of the winter delicacies of the temperate regions of the world, including the US, because the grown fish turns highly fatty during the cold months. In Japan, people cook it as a New Year’s celebratory delicacy as its midwinter season coincides with the occasion. Its meat is white while the outer appearance is silvery with a yellow stripe running along its length.

As yellowtail fish sushi grows, the Japanese label it differently as it ages, with a fully grown one finally owning the name buri.  Hiramasa sashimi, sometimes classified as true yellowtail amberjack, is a cousin of the yellowtail fish sushi  in the same genus but its species name is Seriola lalandi.

History of yellowtail fish

Yellowtail fish have their origin in the east Pacific, particularly the Sea of Japan. The Hiramasa Sashimi species or yellowtail kingfish is the most widely distributed among the amberjacks, ranging from Japan to Hawaii along the western Pacific. Other seafronts with a history of the fish include the North Reef of Queensland, Australia and Tasmania.

For general fish originating from other countries, please explore fish from Tanzania, fish from Mozambique, fish from Rwanda, fish from Uganda and Madagascar fish.

Nutritional and health benefits of yellowtail fish

Here is a detailed breakdown of the nutrient quantities in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked yellowtail fish:

  • Calories: 141
  • Protein: 23.2 grams
  • Fat: 4.6 grams
    • Saturated fat: 1.2 grams
    • Monounsaturated fat: 1.6 grams
    • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3 grams
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.8 grams
    • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid): 0.3 grams
    • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid): 0.4 grams
  • Cholesterol: 49 milligrams
  • Vitamin D: 18% of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin B12: 31% of the DV
  • Selenium: 27% of the DV
  • Niacin: 18% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 16% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 7% of the DV
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV
  • Iron: 5% of the DV

Related: Nutritional contents in raw yellowtail fish

Keep in mind that the nutrient content of yellowtail fish can vary depending on factors such as where it was caught, how it was prepared, and the size of the fish. This breakdown is based on an average for cooked yellowtail fish.

How to prepare yellowtail fish

Here’s a simple recipe for pan-seared yellowtail fillets:


  • 2 yellowtail fillets (about 6 ounces each), skin on
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Optional: fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, cilantro), minced garlic, or red pepper flakes for added flavor


  1. Rinse and pat dry the yellowtail fillets with a paper towel. Check for any remaining bones and remove them using tweezers or needle-nose pliers.
  2. Season the fillets with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat a non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and wait until it is hot and shimmering.
  4. Place the fillets skin-side down in the skillet, gently pressing down to ensure even contact with the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Avoid moving the filets during this time to achieve a proper sear.
  5. Carefully flip the filets using a spatula, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter to the pan. Once it melts, spoon it over the filets to baste them. This will keep the fish moist and enhance the flavor. Optionally, add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, or fresh herbs to the butter for additional flavor.
  7. Remove the filets from the pan and transfer them to a serving plate. Drizzle with lemon juice, and garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired.
  8. Serve immediately with your choice of side dishes, such as rice, vegetables, or a simple salad.

If you need to use it in a wine or juice recipe, then you need the following ingredients:

  • Cut fish fillets
  • Olive oil
  • Butter and wine or juice


  1. Boil the wine or juice in a coat of cream for two minutes
  2. Pour the mixture into a flour bowl, and at the same time immerse your yellowtail fish sushi fillets.

You will enjoy your sushi meal in less than eight minutes. You can dine on the flaked fish alongside green peas or similar leguminous greens.

You can also prepare yellowfish in other ways, such as grilling, baking, or use in sushi and sashimi dishes.

The key to a delicious yellowtail dish is to use fresh, high-quality fish and avoid overcooking it to maintain its natural flavors and texture.

The price of yellowtail fish

The price of fresh and ready to cook yellowtail fish is about $30 per pound, give or take. Some sellers can have it as high as $36 while others can sell it below $30. It really depends on the location and the specific store you are buying it from.

You may also like to access more comprehensive general fish price insights in the US.

Where to buy yellowtail fish in US

There are many yellowtail fish grocers in the US, ranging from fish stores to online markets. Specific places where you can buy include:

  • Fulton Fish Market located in the Bronx area of New York City
  • Eaton Street Seafood Market in Key West, Florida
  • Key Largo Fisheries in Florida.

If you are in California then most probably your California ‘sushi’ restaurant has a Hiramasa Sashimi recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Given its versatility and popularity, there will always be something interesting you would like to know about yellowtail fish. Let’s look at the common ones.

Is yellowtail good fish to eat?

Yes, especially in Japanese cuisine, where it is known as Hamachi. Always remember the term “yellowtail” can refer to several different species of fish, but it most commonly refers to the Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata) or the California yellowtail (Seriola dorsalis).

Is a yellowtail a tuna?

No, yellowtail is not a tuna even if their strikingly similar looks may point to such a thought. Tunas belong to the Scombridae family of mackerels while yellowtail fish is a Carangidae member. Furthermore, their flesh is whiter and firmer than that of most tuna, no wonder they are popular in food joints.

Is yellowtail better than tuna?

Both yellowtail fish and tuna, especially white tuna have greasy, sumptuous white flesh that are comparatively similar, only that most fish connoisseurs consider the yellowtail flesh to be the superior of the two as it has a stronger taste.

What is yellowtail fish in South Africa?

The yellowtail fish in South Africa belongs to the Seriola lalandi species, which goes under the name Hiramasa Sashimi in Japan and yellowtail kingfish in the US. It is available along the seashore or in waters of up to 50 meters deep in the Cape region in the southern part of South Africa.