The Bluefish Species, Pomatomus saltatrix, is the only living member of the Pomatomidae family. Except in the northern Pacific Ocean, it is a marine pelagic fish that can be found in temperate and subtropical waters all over the world. In Australia and New Zealand, bluefish are known as tailors, while in South Africa, they are known as elf and shad.
They can be found in pelagic waters off the coasts of the world’s continental shelves. They live along the Atlantic coast of the United States, in Africa, the Mediterranean and Black Seas, Southeast Asia, and Australia. During the summer, they frequently migrate from warm to cooler waters.
With the exception of the eastern Pacific, bluefish can be found in temperate and tropical waters all over the world. They’re a popular recreational fish all along the Atlantic coast of the United States, from Florida to Maine. They can grow to be over 30 pounds, congregate in large groups, and feed aggressively.
The popular recreational and food fish bluefish has been heavily overfished. The population has been stabilized by fisheries management. Bluefish stocks in the United States’ middle Atlantic region were substantially overfished in the late 1990s, but careful management recovered the species by 2007.
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Distribution and Habitat
They can be found in tropical and subtropical waters all over the world. They can be found in a variety of coastal habitats, including above the continental shelf, near surf beaches, and near rock headlands. They also live in brackish waters and enter estuaries. They leave the coasts on a regular basis and migrate in groups through open waters.
They can be found in pelagic waters off the coasts of eastern America, Africa, the Mediterranean, and Black Seas, Southeast Asia, and Australia. In the winter, bluefish can be found off the coast of Florida. They’ve vanished by April, heading north. They can be found off the coast of Massachusetts by June, and stragglers can be found as far north as Nova Scotia in years of high abundance. They leave the waters north of New York City in October and head south. Movement patterns are roughly parallel along the South African coast and environs.
The Bluefish Species has a large, forked tail and a moderately sized body. The spiny first dorsal fin, as well as the pectoral fins, are generally folded back in a groove. The back of a bluefish is bluish-green, with silvery sides and underbelly. A large, forked tail, a spiny first dorsal fin, a pointed snout, and a robust jaw with sharp, compressed teeth are all features of this species.
Bluefish often range in size from seven inches (18 cm) to much larger, ranging up to 40 pounds (18 kg), though fish weighing more than 20 pounds (9 kg) are rare. Adult bluefish measure between 20 and 60 cm in length, with a maximum size of 120 cm and 14 kg reported.
Adult bluefish are powerful and aggressive, and they live in swarms. They are quick swimmers that assault schools of forage fish in a feeding frenzy long after they appear to have eaten their fill. They are cannibalistic and capable of devouring their own offspring. In a “bluefish blitz,” bluefish chase bait across the surf zone, striking schools in extremely shallow water and churning the water. Squid, menhaden, and other small forage fish are among their favorite foods.
Females can deposit between 400,000 and 2 million eggs when they reach maturity at two years. They lay their eggs in the open ocean, where the larvae grow into juveniles before migrating to estuaries and near-shore environments. Bluefish can live for up to 14 years and reach weights of over 30 pounds (14 kg).