The Amberjack is the largest member of the Trevallies and Jacks family, Carangidae, and is named for the occasional ‘amber’ stripe from the gills to the tail which becomes more prominent during feeding. The body is stream-lined and elongate, particularly in adults, and is silver in colour with dark bands running from the mouth across the eye to the start of the dorsal fin with a deeply forked tail.
Adults are generally solitary however juveniles can be found congregating in small schools over reefs. It is considered to be a pelagic fish species as it generally encountered in the open ocean looking for small fish species to prey on. A fast-swimming predator, the amberjack feeds on squid, crustaceans and fish, particularly the yellow-tail scad. Juveniles feed on planktonic crustacean larvae and other small invertebrates. The Amberjack is known to weigh up to 80 kilograms, and grows to approximately 2 metres in length with the females growing larger, living longer (up to 17 years) and maturing earlier at four years of age rather than five compared to males. Little is known of the Amberjack’s breeding habits, migrations may be related to reproduction and it is thought Amberjack’s spawn offshore throughout most of the year.
Other common names include: Greater amberjack, allied kingfish, amberjack, great amberfish, great yellowtail, greater yellowtail, purplish amberjack, rock salmon, sailor’s choice, and yellow tail.
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
Reasonably common. A predatory fish, juveniles of which are often seen swimming and hunting amongst schools of yellowtail scad. Very similar in appearance to the Samson fish, though head is drawn out to a pointed profile.