What is Amberjack?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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For anyone that enjoys fish, whether catching or eating them, it is a good idea to know a little bit about the amberjack. Here is some basic information about the two types of amberjack, how to tell the two apart, and some of the different ways that amberjack can be prepared.

The first classification for the amberjack is that of Seriola dumerili, or greater amberjacks. The greater amberjack possesses a series of dark stripes that extend from the nose to the front area of the dorsal fins. Greater amberjacks are typically quite a large fish, usually weighing around forty pounds.

With no scutes and with shorter dorsal bases, this amberjack is relatively fast and can maneuver very well, which makes it a little more difficult to capture. Greater amberjacks are sometimes referred to as the junkmen of the seas, since they tend to be found at the site of shipwrecks, sections of the ocean floor with plenty of debris, and near rocky coral reefs. Rarely are the greater amberjacks found at a depth of more than forty fathoms.


Lesser amberjacks, or Seriola fasciata, have a larger eye than the greater amberjack, as well as a sleeker body design. These types of amberjacks tend to have an olive green or black torso, combined with silver sides and a contrasting dark band that runs from their eyes and over their backs. Younger amberjacks of this type also have bars on their sides, which help them to move quickly through the water. Lesser amberjacks never reach a size approximating their larger counterparts. Most amberjack of the lesser variety reach a weight of no more than ten pounds at any point during their life span. They also tend to be found at greater depths than the greater amberjack, sometimes as deep as seventy fathoms.

Both types of amberjack are considered predators. They aggressively feed on other types of fish, as well as on small squid. When hungry, the amberjack will attack its prey head on and keep up the battle until their quarry is subdued.

Many people consider amberjack to be an excellent choice of seafood. In different parts of the world, amberjack is prepared into filets and grilled with spices. Other recipes call for baking or grilling the amberjack whole, with lemon juice and a light selection of herbs. Amberjack can also be gutted and cleaned, then deep friend with a corn meal coating. Blackened and Cajun style amberjack is often prepared on an open fire and is particularly popular around the Gulf Coast of the United States.


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