Other Names: Scientifically named Alectis ciliaris, the African Pompano is one of the more exotic-looking fish found in these areas and is a member of the Carangidae or Jack Family.
Range & Habitat: the lower half of the Atlantic Coast and in the Keys.; Bahamas and Caribbean
The African Pompano is pelagic and normally solitary and in Mexico is found around the tip of the Baja California peninsula from Magdalena Bay to La Paz. The African Pompano is found in the first 200 feet of the water column over sandy bottoms, adjacent to rocky structure. and can be caught in abundance in early spring when it spawns over sandy relatively sandy bottoms. It is reported to reach a length of 5-feet but is normally in the 18 to 24 inch range.
Identification & Biology: The African Pompano is characterized by its silver, highly compressed body with a light blue tinge and a steep rounded forehead with a blunt snout. It has high anal fin and dorsal fin front lobes with very long anal fin and dorsal fin rays, which diminish with age, an arched lateral line, long curved pectoral fins, and no rear finlets. The body is scaleless.
The juvenile African Pompano has several extremely long anal and dorsal fin rays. Easily confused with the Threadfin Jack, Caranx otrynter, which has a pointed snout, angular and unrounded head profile, scales covering the top of the head and rear half of the body, and juveniles lacking multiple, long, filamentous anal and dorsal fin rays.
Market Description: firm texture, mild flavor.
Sold as: fresh, dried or salted.
Recommended Preparation: The African Pompano is excellent table fair. Can be served raw (as sashimi) in addition to other traditional cooking methods.