The yellowtail, Seriola quinqueradiata (family Carangidae) is the only carangid that contributes significantly to aquaculture production at present, and its culture is restricted to Japan. Attempts have been made to culture another species of the family, the pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), in the southwestern USA, butthis has not resulted in any large-scale culture operations. Despite the limited geographical importance, yellowtail culture is of special significance, because it was the first instance of a large-scale culture of a marine fish and it contributes not less than 90–95 per cent of the total finfish mariculture in Japan. Probably this is the only case where a farm-raised fish is unani-mously considered superior in quality to fish caught from the sea and fetches a much higher price in the market. Being a high-valued carnivorous species, they are fed in culture facilities with less expensive fish like sardine, mackerel and sand eel. Almost 60 per cent of the commercial landings of these species are used as feed for yellowtail, and it is said that their capture fisheries would collapse in the absence of yellowtail culture, as there is no other demand for them in Japan.
The Japanese name ‘hamachi’ originally referred to young one-year-old yellowtails; but with the rapid expansion of their culture, all farm-raised yellowtails have come to be known as ‘hamachi’, irrespective of their age. It is a highly priced fish in Japanese markets and grows to a length of 80–100cm and a weight of 5–8kg in natural waters. The marketable size is at a weight of 1–1.5kg (fig. 22.1). The capture fishery production had diminished, and this encouraged attempts at farming the species. Though farming started in 1928, significant production was achieved only about 1960.