Explore the fascinating world of two oceanic superstars: yellowtail and yellowfin tuna!

Ryan Nienaber

You're sitting at your favourite sushi spot, eagerly reading the menu, when you spot two tantalising options – yellowtail and yellowfin tuna. They may seem similar at first glance, but oh my, there's a whole world of difference waiting to be discovered!

Let's start with the basics. Yellowtail, also known as the Japanese amberjack, is a sleek and elegant fish belonging to the genus Seriola. With its distinctive yellow stripe and pink to deep white flesh, it's a sight to behold both on the plate and in the water. On the other hand, we have the yellowfin tuna, a true titan of the ocean. With its metallic blue back, yellow sides, and fins with its red/pink flesh, this majestic creature is a beacon of beauty beneath the waves.

Size matters, right? Well, when it comes to these two culinary contenders, there's a clear winner. While yellowtail can reach a respectable length of around 1.5 metres (or 5 feet for my imperial friends)  the average weight of a yellowtail caught in Cape Town is around 2-4kg in size. Yellowfin tuna takes the prize for sheer size, with adults commonly stretching up to a whopping 2.4 metres (that's 8 feet of fishy goodness), and in Cape Town our yellowfin tuna average 40-80kg in size.

Now, let's talk about habitat. Yellowtail prefers to strut its stuff in coastal waters, rubbing fins with rocky reefs and frolicking in kelp forests like a true oceanic superstar.  You will see many boats around Cape Point, Dassen Island and on the reefs in Struisbaai targeting Yellowtail when the water is 16-18’c or wartmer.   Meanwhile, yellowfin tuna is more of a free spirit, preferring the vast expanse of the open ocean, located in the blue warm waters aroun 80-100km off shore from Hout Bay, but still making cameo appearances in coastal areas. It's like comparing a beach party to a deep-sea adventure – both epic in their own right!

But enough about appearances and habitats – let's get to the good stuff: culinary delights! Yellowtail and yellowfin tuna are both VIPs in the world of sushi, making waves in sashimi and stealing the spotlight in sushi rolls. Yellowfin tuna is a versatile superstar, equally at home on the grill, in a salad, or sizzling in a pan with its red/ pink flesh upliftimng the visual appearance of any dish. Yellowtail, known as a white fish, is a translucent white/ very light pink flesh, and  brings a touch of elegance to every dish it graces, whether it's raw, seared, or delicately grilled to perfection.

Two distinct species, each with its own unique charm and culinary prowess. Whether you're a sushi aficionado or a seafood connoisseur, there's no denying the thrill of exploring the wide and wonderful world of oceanic cuisine. 


Yellowfin Tuna                                              




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