Wahoo looks like a mackerel. Wahoo swims like a mackerel. In fact, wahoo is a mackerel. But, wahoo does not taste like a mackerel. Unlike other mackerel, wahoo has a mild, snow-white flesh that is often compared to the taste of albacore.

Wahoo is wonderful baked, broiled or poached, but is particularly well suited for summertime grilling. Try grilled wahoo with raspberry barbecue sauce or orange cream sauce.

Also known as:

Wahoo, ono, Pacific kingfish, tiger fish, ocean barracuda, Malata kingfish, queenfish, kingfish

Availability:

Year-round

Product forms:

Fresh or frozen, whole, fillets, steaks, headed and gutted

Shopping tips:

Raw wahoo meat should be pinkish orange. If you are buying a whole fish, look for clean gills and bright, clear eyes.

Substitutions:

Unlike other mackerel, wahoo has a mild, snow-white flesh that is often compared to the taste of albacore. Try wahoo for an affordable alternative to tuna, or an ocean-friendly substitution for Chilean sea bass, grouper or snapper.

Recipes:

Grilled wild-caught wahoo with raspberry barbeque sauce

Grilled wild-caught wahoo with orange cream sauce

Wahoo fishery: Wahoo are primarily harvested with trolling and longline fishing gear. More.

Conservation notes:

Wahoo is considered an ocean-friendly seafood choice because it is a fast-growing fish and the fishing gear used does not cause significant habitat destruction. More.
Last updated: April 2008

 

Wahoo Fishery

Hook-and-line fishing gear used to catch wahoo is generally pulled through the water by a boat in a process known as trolling. As soon as a fish is hooked, the fishermen reel it in. This means that unwanted species can be released almost immediately and often without serious injury.

Pelagic longlines consist of a long central line that has smaller fishing lines with baited hooks spaced along its length. The lines are left to soak near the ocean's surface for several hours before the fishes are harvested. Accidental capture and injury of unwanted species can be a problem with this fishing method.

Wahoo are found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but most U.S.-caught wahoo is caught in Hawaii. Wahoo is also fished in the Gulf of Mexico and along the South and Mid-Atlantic states.

Conservation Notes

Some fishes grow very slowly, which means their populations do not recover quickly when they are depleted by fishing because they don't get a chance to reproduce. Wahoo is a fast-growing species, so its populations can handle a relatively high amount of fishing pressure.

Many types of commercial fishing gear can cause significant habitat destruction. Wahoo are typically fished with hook-and-line, and pelagic longline gear, both of which are used at or near the surface. This means that wahoo fishing gear rarely comes in contact with the ocean floor, significantly reducing the risk of habitat destruction.

Some types of commercial fishing gear may catch large numbers of unwanted fishes and other animals, a problem known as bycatch. Hook-and-line fisheries, such as troll-caught wahoo, have a very low rate of bycatch. But bycatch can be a problem for longline fisheries, which are known to accidentally capture other fishes, sea turtles, sea birds and sharks.

When possible, choose hook-and-line or troll-caught wahoo.