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Pomatomus saltatrix  (Linnaeus, 1766)

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Image of Pomatomus saltatrix (Bluefish)
Pomatomus saltatrix
Picture by Wirtz, P.

Australia country information

Common names: Bluefish, Choppers, Elf
Occurrence: native
Salinity: brackish
Abundance: abundant (always seen in some numbers) | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Importance: minor commercial | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Aquaculture: never/rarely | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Regulations: restricted | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Uses: gamefish: yes;
Comments: Inhabit coastal waters of all Australian states except the Northern Territory, being distributed from the northern tip of Fraser Island in Queensland to Onslow in Western Australia. Catches of tailor are much less common in Tasmanian and western Victorian waters than off the east and west coasts, and they are rare in South Australia and the Great Australian Bight. Stock structure: Electrophoretic studies on tailor have shown that the genetic variation between fish sampled from the eastern and western coasts of Australia is significant and the 2 groups should be considered as separate genetic stocks (Ref. 27688). Tagging studies in Queensland and New South Wales waters indicate that tailor from Sydney north are part of a single stock, but more research is needed to confirm the stock status of fish from southern New South Wales and Victoria. Commercial fishery: The major fishing grounds for tailor are on the east coast. In most years more than half the total Australian catch is taken in Queensland waters, particularly from North Stradbroke, Moreton and Fraser islands. Most of the Queensland catch is landed on the beaches of those islands using beach seines, although a small quantity is caught from estuaries using gillnets. The highest catches are taken from June to September, coinciding with the northern migration of tailor to the waters of Fraser Island. In New South Wales, tailor is not a major target species. A considerable quantity is taken incidentally in gillnets from Lake Macquarie and Sydney (Port Jackson and Botany Bay) and some catches are also taken with beach seines from northern New South Wales waters in late winter (Ref. 27112). In Victoria, tailor are a small component of catches in the eastern bay and inlet fisheries, with the bulk of landings coming from the Gippsland Lakes. Gillnets and beach seines are the main methods used in these fisheries. Tailor is a minor commercial species in Western Australia. Most of the catch are adult fish taken in the Shark Bay area using beach seines, and the remaining catch consists mainly of 'choppers' (fish less than 35 cm TL) caught from the Peel-Harvey estuary using gillnets. The tailor catch is sold on domestic markets, mostly as fresh and chilled product although some of the catch is smoked. If marketing delays cause deterioration in quality the catch is sold to pet food canners. Recreational fishery: Tailor is one of the most popular angling species in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. Estimates of the recreational tailor catch in Queensland indicate that anglers take more fish than commercial operators, especially from Fraser Island beaches (Ref. 27747). Recaptures of tailor tagged in New South Wales ocean waters were higher for recreational fishers than for the commercial sector, although estuarine recaptures were taken mainly by net fishers. A survey of anglers in Western Australia produced an estimate that 86,000 people fished for tailor in 1987 (Ref. 27695). The largest tailor recorded by the Australian Anglers Association weighed 12.1 kg and was caught near Shark Bay in Western Australia. Anglers mainly fish for tailor using rod-and-line from beaches or rock platforms, using whole baits of pilchard or sea garfish. The baits are presented on 3 or 4 hooks joined or 'ganged' together and weighted with lead sinker for beach fishing and usually unweighted for rock fishing. The use of metal lured or 'spinners' is also popular with anglers fishing from rocks and beaches. Resource status: Reports of reduced catch rates for recreational fishers have caused some concern about the status of Australian tailor stocks, particularly in Western Australia (Ref. 27695). However, commercial catch levels have remained relatively stable over the past 20 years. More research is needed to determine the sustainability of the prevailing catch levels (both commercial and recreational). Also Ref. 52790.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
National Database:

Common names from other countries

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Pomatomidae (Bluefishes)
Etymology: Pomatomus: Greek, poma, -atos = cover, operculum + Greek, tomos = portion (Ref. 45335).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; brackish; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 54708).   Subtropical; 45°N - 44°S, 180°W - 180°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumglobal: In tropical to subtropical waters; except the eastern Pacific (Ref. 33390). Eastern Atlantic: Portugal to South Africa, including the Mediterranean and Black Sea, Madeira, and the Canary Islands. Western Atlantic: Canada and Bermuda to Argentina (Ref. 7251). Indian Ocean: along the coast of East Africa, Madagascar, southern Oman, southwest India, the Malay Peninsula, and Western Australia (Ref. 11441). Southwest Pacific: Australia except the Northern Territory, and New Zealand (Ref. 11441). Absent from eastern Pacific and northwest Pacific. Barely entering the Western Central Pacific region. Records from the Northern Territory, Australia and from Indonesia appear to be erroneous (Ref. 9860). Occurrence in Taiwan (Ref. 5193) and Hawaii (Ref. 4517) need verification.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 30.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 130 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 11441); common length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3482); max. published weight: 14.4 kg (Ref. 4699); max. reported age: 9 years (Ref. 6845)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 8 - 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 23-28; Anal spines: 2-3; Anal soft rays: 23 - 27. Jaw teeth prominent, sharp, compressed, in a single series. Two dorsal fins, the first short and low, with 7 or 8 feeble spines connected by a membrane. Back greenish, sides and belly silvery (Ref. 9860).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Occur in oceanic and coastal waters (Ref. 26340). They are most common along surf beaches and rock headlands in clean, high energy waters, although adults can also be found in estuaries and into brackish water (Ref. 6492). Small fish may be found in shallow coastal waters at least 2 m depth (Ref. 9563), in schools pursuing and attacking small fishes (Ref. 9626). Adults are in loose groups, often attacking shoals of mullets or other fishes and destroying numbers apparently far in excess of feeding requirements (Ref. 9860). Feed on other fish (Ref. 5377), crustaceans and cephalopods (Ref. 47377). Associated with sharks and billfishes (Ref. 26340). Voracious and aggressive (Ref. 9626), reported to bite when handled. Migrate to warmer water during winter and to cooler water in summer (Ref. 9987). Popular game fish (Ref. 6638). Good food fish; marketed mostly fresh (Ref. 9860), but also dried or salted (Ref. 5284), and frozen (Ref. 9987).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Fecundity varies from 400,000 to 2,000,000 eggs depending on the size of the individual (ranging from 370,000 in a 31 cm fish to 1,240,000 in a 54 cm fish) (Ref. 27695). Tailor are serial spawners (Ref. 6390).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Dooley, J.K., 1990. Pomatomidae. p. 721-722. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 2. (Ref. 9986)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

  Vulnerable (VU) (A2bd)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 27695)

Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; bait: usually
FAO(Aquaculture: production; fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us


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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 8.4 - 27.5, mean 21.1 (based on 1273 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 1.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01000 (0.00749 - 0.01335), b=2.98 (2.89 - 3.07), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.10-0.2; tm=2; tmax=9; Fec=1 million).
Prior r = 0.58, 2 SD range = 0.37 - 0.90, log(r) = -0.54, SD log(r) = 0.22, Based on: 1 M, 6 K, 3 tgen, 2 tmax, 3 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High vulnerability (63 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.