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Bluefish Pomatomus saltatrix


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credit: NOAA

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Family: Pomatomidae, Bluefishes view all from this family

Description The bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), called tailor in Australia, is a species of popular marine gamefish found in all climates. It is the sole species of the Pomatomidae family.

In South Africa, this fish is commonly known as shad on the east coast, and elf on the west coast. Shad can not be commercially sold in KwaZulu-Natal and has a closed season (currently October and November) to allow for breeding. On the west coast elf is a commercially fished species.

Other common names are blue, chopper, and anchoa.

The bluefish is a moderately proportioned fish, with a broad, forked tail. The spiny first dorsal fin is normally folded back in a groove, as are its pectoral fins. Coloration is a grayish blue-green dorsally, fading to white on the lower sides and belly. Its single row of teeth in each jaw are uniform in size, knife-edged and sharp. Bluefish commonly range in size from seven inch (18 cm) "snappers" to much larger, sometimes weighing as much as 40 pounds (18 kg), though fish heavier than twenty pounds (9 kg) are exceptional.

Dimensions Up to 3'7" (1.1 m); 31 3/4 lbs (14.4 kg).

Warning Occasionally a Bluefish will attack a swimmer, causing severe lacerations.

Habitat Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes, Ocean or bay shallows, Open ocean.

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Texas, Eastern Canada.