Yellowtail flounder are a small-toothed flatfish that live on sandy bottom along the continental shelf from southern Labrador to Chesapeake Bay. These oval-shaped bottom-dwellers live in waters between130 and 230 feet (37 and 91 metres) deep and are relatively sedentary. They are named after their yellow tail fins.
Yellowtail flounder are brownish or olive on their upper sides and are tinged with red and marked with large, irregular rusty red spots. Their underside is white except for the area between the body and tail with is yellow. They grow up to 22 inches and have both eyes on their right side. This flatfish is very popular due to his lean meat, delicate flavour and fine texture.
Yellowtail flounder grow quickly and have a relatively short life with most only reaching the age of 7. They reach maturity earlier than most flat fish. By the age of three, most females begin to spawn in the spring and summer, depositing their eggs on the ocean floor where they are fertilized. The larvae then float to the surface where they remain for two months. When they hatch, the flounder’s eyes are symmetrical with one on each side of its head. As the fish grows, it takes on its flattened shape and the left eye slowly drifts over to the right side of its head next to the other eye. After this metamorphosis, the young fish settles along the seafloor where it feeds on worms and crustaceans.
This fishery uses a large cone-shaped net that is dragged along the seafloor to catch fish. As the net is towed at low speed, hydrodynamic forces push two "otter boards" outwards opening the mouth of the net and capturing fish in its path.