Information from FAO Species Identification Guide Western Central Atlantic

Bluefish - Pomatomus saltatrix



Diagnostic characters: A large species (to 1 m) with a sturdy, compressed body and large head.Mouth large, terminal, lower jaw sometimes slightly projecting; jaw teeth prominent, sharp, compressed, in a single series. Two dorsal fins, the first short and low with 7 or 8 relatively weak spines connected by a membrane, the second long, with 1 spine and 23 to 28 soft rays; anal fin a little shorter than soft dorsal fin, with 2 spines and 23 to 27 soft rays; caudal fin moderately forked; pectoral fins short, not reaching origin of soft dorsal fin. Scales small, covering head, body, and bases of vertical fins; lateral line almost straight. Colour: back greenish blue, sides and belly silvery; dorsal and anal fins pale green tinged with yellow, pectoral fins bluish at base, caudal fin dull greenish tinged with yellow.

Size: Maximum to 110 cm; commonly to 60 cm. The IGFA all-tackle gamefish record is 14.40 kg for a fish caught in North Carolina in 1972. Habitat, biology, and fisheries: Usually found in coastal temperate and subtropical waters. A powerful, swift fish, the young hunting in schools, the adults in loose groups. Voracious visual feeders renowned for their appetites, schools of actively feeding bluefish have attacked bathers. Caught mainly with gill nets, lines, and purse seines; commonly taken on hook-and-line by sports fishermen in the USA. FAO statistics report landings ranging from 756 to 1 458 t from 1995 to 1999. Marketed mostlyfresh but also makes an excellent smoked product.  

Distribution: Coastal temperate and subtropical waters of the world except absent from the eastern Pacific and the Indo-West Pacific north of the equator. In the western Atlantic known from Bermuda, the Atlantic coast of North America (Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico) and South America (Colombia to Argentina) but absent from the Bahamas, West Indies (except for the northern coast of Cuba), and Caribbean coast of Central America.

ChesMMAP Bluefish Catch By Cruise Map

ChesMMAP Bluefish Catch By Year Map

NEAMAP Bluefish Catch By Cruise Map

NEAMAP Bluefish Catch By Year Maps: