Learn about the following species groups (including their most common members, as well as purchasing, storage and cooking information), or select a specific species from the species list on the right.
The Trevally (Carangidae) family of fish contains over 150 species spread across 30 diverse groups. Found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, they include trevallys, jacks, pompanos, jack mackerels, darts and scads. They vary greatly in size, but most have a torpedo-shaped body with a narrow tail base and deeply-forked tail fin and are fast-swimming predators that hunt above reefs and in the open sea.
The most important commercial trevally in Australia is Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi) named for its distinctive yellow tailfins. It’s harvested from the wild, mainly off NSW (November-March) and Queensland (April-August), with some off south-western Western Australia; but the majority is farmed in Spencer Gulf, South Australia, and usually marketed under its Japanese name ‘hiramasa’. It’s a highly-regarded, oily, pinky-white fleshed fish that’s popular raw but also lends itself to a wide variety of cooking styles
Silver Trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex), the other commonly seen trevally, is a medium-priced fish caught off the southern half of Australia from Shark Bay (WA), to Rockhampton (Queensland) with peak supplies from November-May. The similar but smaller Skipjack Trevally (Pseudocaranx wrighti) is also marketed as silver trevally.
Yellowtail Scad (Trachurus novaezelandiae) is a tiny member of the trevally family, often only around 300g or smaller. It’s caught mainly off NSW, is low-priced and is good deep-fried, grilled or baked. Similar species are popular cooked in these ways in South East Asia, where they’re also often salted or dried.
Other members of the Trevally family occasionally seen in retail shops or harvested recreationally in various parts of Australia include:
* Darts (Trachinotus species) – five similar species are all marketed simply as Common Dart. They have distinctively large swallow-tailed tailfins and long streamlined top and bottom fins.
* Jack Mackerel – two similar fish, Trachurus declivis and T.murphyi, are marketed under this name. These small fish are similar to yellowtail scad (a member of the same genus) and, as the name suggests, have a long body shape similar to mackerel; their dark, dry, oily flesh isn’t well regarded.
* Samsonfish (Seriola hippos) and the very similar Amberjack (Seriola dumerili) are both sold as Samsonfish. They are found right around the Australian coast (except Tasmania) and are popular for recreational fishing.
* Queenfish (Scomberoides species) – the four members of this family look more like mackerels than other trevallys and are also popular with anglers.
* Black Pomfret (Parastromateus niger) is quite distinctive among the trevallys. With it’s slightly flattened, diamond-shaped body it resembles the unrelated pomfrets of South East Asia and is popular in Asian cooking.
Other Australian trevallys include: Bigeye (Caranx sexfasciatus), Black (C.lugubris), Bluefin (C.melampygus), Bluespotted (C.bucculentus), Giant (C.ignobilis), Diamond (Alectis indica), and Golden (Gnathanodon speciosus) Trevallys, and Turrum (Carangoides fulvoguttatus).
Larger fish are sold whole (gilled and gutted), and in fillet form, with yellowtail kingfish also sold as steaks and cutlets; smaller fish, such as yellowtail scad, are usually only seen whole. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In cutlets, steaks and fillets, look for pinky-white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.
Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Lay whole fish, fillets, steaks and cutlets in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Trevally is best eaten as fresh as possible, but can be refrigerate for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months, below -18ºC. Its distinctive fishy flavour intensifies with time.
Cooking & Serving
Trevallys are suitable for a wide range of cooking methods: deep-frying, pan-frying, baking, grilling, barbecuing, smoking, and pickling. They tend to be dry so marinating prior to cooking helps prevent the flesh drying out, as does wrapping in foil, banana leaves or vine leaves if baking or barbecuing. Most have oily, dry, medium-textured flesh with few bones that are easily removed. The skin is usually removed and many have a dark bloodline down the centre of fillets which can also be cut out. Strong Mediterranean or Asian flavours work well with the distinctive, slightly fishy flavour, which is more pronounced in the darker fleshed species such as jack mackerel.
You say Trevally, I say Trevalla
Despite their similar sounding names, Trevallys are unrelated to Trevallas (Centrolophidae family) such as blue-eye trevalla and warehous.