The Butterfish, Peprilus Triancanthus, is also referred to as a Shiner or a Dollarfish. It can grow to a length of 6-9 inches and generally weigh less than a pound. It is grey–blue on its back with a silver belly. It also has dark, irregular spots.
This fish is usually in season from April to early September. Its body is thin and round, with a dorsal fin running the length of its back and an equally long anal fin. Its tail is forked.
Butterfish travel in large schools and migrate between North Carolina and New England. It is caught commercially for human consumption.
Butterfish are fast-growing and short-lived, reaching a maximum age of 4-6 years. Females are somewhat faster growing than males. Many butterfish are sexually mature by age l; all are mature by age 2.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commercial landings of butterfish increased in the late 1960s and early 1970s due to distant water fleet fisheries and total landings peaked at 34,300 metric tons in 1973. Discards of butterfish in fisheries targeting other species can be considerable and annual estimates have recently averaged between 1,000-9,200 mt.
US commercial landings, which averaged 3,200 mt per year during 1965-2002, peaked at 11,972 mt in 1984. Since 1985, landings declined and in 2005 were 432 mt, a record-low.