Marine - Species
SC Species Regulations for Jack Crevalle
Saltwater Fishing License required.
Limit: 20 per person per day in combination with all other snapper grouper complex species; No size limits or seasonal fishery closure.
Jack Crevalle (Caranx hippos)
Body silver with dark blue-green along the back, and yellow along the belly. Fins yellowish, conspicuous dark spots visible on the operculum and at the base of the pectoral fins. Second dorsal and anal fins with first rays greatly elongated. Five dark bars often present on the body of juveniles, but disappear in adults. Chest is unscaled except for a small patch in front of the pelvic fins.
25 – 30 inches, 2 – 5 pounds;
South Carolina State Record: 40 pounds, 1 ounce (1993);
maximum age: has not been established
Primarily a schooling fish inhabiting deeper offshore waters as well as hard substrates and natural or artificial reefs. Juveniles and adults also enter estuaries and tidal creeks up to the freshwater line; juveniles may also utilize seagrass beds.
- Age at maturity is not known; males greater than 27 inches and females greater than 26.3 inches have been caught with “ripe” gonads.
- Spawning occurs between March and September in subtropical waters of the Florida Strait and the Caribbean Sea. Larvae are carried to South Carolina waters during spring and summer by the Gulf Stream.
- Larvae develop in offshore waters. Juveniles utilize estuaries during their first summer and return to offshore waters in the fall.
- All ages are diurnal predators; most hunt in schools, but larger fish may be solitary.
- Adults: feed primarily on small schooling fishes such as anchovies, Atlantic bumper, and pinfish; may also consume penaeid shrimp, portunid crabs, and squid.
- Juveniles: diet similar to adults; primarily piscivorous, but also occasionally feed on invertebrates.
Availability/Vulnerability to Harvest
- Distribution is temperature regulated; inhabit South Carolina waters only during summer. Southward migration during fall coincides with decrease in water temperatures. Occasional mass mortality due to low temperature.
- Tolerate wide salinity ranges; adults most common in nearshore and offshore waters greater than 30 ppt, but may also enter estuaries; juveniles tolerate lower salinity waters including far upstream in tidal creeks.
- Annual abundance in South Carolina highly variable and dependent upon larval recruitment to state waters, survival during seasonal migrations, and health of spawning stocks in subtropical waters.
- Conservation concerns: degradation or loss of estuarine habitat; potential for high recreational harvest – although most fish are released immediately after capture, release is high; lack of information on biology in South Carolina waters.
Abundance of Species
Graphs of abundance show relative annual abundance in South Carolina waters based on surveys conducted by the SC Department of Natural Resources.
Abundance is presented relative to the average of the 10 most recent years. Unlike graphs of the recreational and commercial fisheries catch, the abundance graphs use survey data that have been standardized to allow direct comparison among years.
The horizontal dotted lines above or below the "10 year average" represent one "standard deviation" unit, which is a measure of how variable the annual data are around the 10-year average. In general, the area between one standard deviation above the mean and one standard deviation below the average includes approximately 68% of the values. Approximately 95% percent of observations in the data set are found within two standard deviations of the average.
The total recreational catch for jack crevalle has been relatively low in South Carolina in the last ten years with a 10 year average of 4,955 fish per year. There were three years in this time period (2004-2006) where there was no reported catch. The peak catches for jack crevalle occurred in the mid 1980’s have remained relatively low since that time. There are no reported commercial landings for jack crevalle in South Carolina for the 1950-2012 time period.
The recreational catch data is provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which conducts phone and angler-intercept surveys to monitor angler activities and catches. For more information see: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Berry FH. 1959. Young jack crevalles (Caranx species) off the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv Fish. Bull. 152: 417-535.
Cain RL, JM Dean. 1976. Annual occurrence, abundance and diversity of Fish in a South Carolina intertidal creek. Mar Biol 36: 369-379.
Crabtree RE, PB Hood, D Snodgrass. 2002. Age, growth, and reproduction of permit (Trachinotus falcatus) in Florida waters. Fish Bull 100: 26-34.
Fischer W. 1978. FAO identification sheets for fisheries purposes: western central Atlantic (fishing area 31) volume 1 – 7. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
Hoff JG. 1971. Mass mortality of the crevalle jack, Caranx hippos (Linnaeus) on the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts. Chesapeake Science 12: 49.
Moore CJ, M Barkley. 2005. South Carolina’s guide to saltwater fishes. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Special Publication. Columbia, SC. 132 pp.
McBride RS, KA McKown. 2000. Consequences of dispersal of subtropically spawned crevalle jacks, Caranx hippos, to temperate estuaries. Fish Bull 98: 528-538.
Saloman CH, SP Naughton. 1984. Food of crevalle jack (Caranx hippos) from Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFC-134. 34pp.
Smith-Vaniz WF, KE Carpenter. 2007. Review of the crevalle jacks, Caranx hippos complex (Teleostei: Carangidae), with a description of a new species from West Africa. Fish Bull 105: 207-233.
Wiggers R. 2005. Crevalle jack. In: Comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Columbia, SC. Available: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cwcs/pdf/Crevallejack.pdf. Accessed: September, 2009.