Giant kingfish


This large fish has a deep, robust body which is silver-grey in colour with a darker dorsal surface and white belly. Irregular, small black spots occur on the back and upper sides. The fish has small scales except for two small naked patches in front of the pectoral and pelvic fins.

Scientific Name: Caranx ignobilis
Common Names: Giant kingfish, giant trevally, GT
Family: Carangidae
Size: 165 cm fork length and weighs up to 68 kg


Giant kingfish are locally distributed between Port Elizabeth and Mozambique and extend throughout the Indo-Pacific to Australia. The adults are more abundant off KwaZulu-Natal during the summer months.


They are common in shallow coastal areas, around islands and reefs, with juveniles commonly found in estuaries. This fish can tolerate broad ranges of salinity to

fresh water. The smaller fish are often found in groups but the very large adults are invariably solitary.


This is the largest and most aggressive of the kingfish species and is one of the fiercest marine fish predators. About 70% of the diet is fish, with the balance being made up of squid and crustaceans.


Spawning occurs over a widespread area in summer. Males and females congregate in sex specific shoals and the population is male dominated in KwaZulu-Natal.

Length at maturity: 65cm fork length
Age at maturity: ±3 years
Maximum age: Over 10 years
Male to female sex ratio: 1:1.39


This is an important recreational game-fish caught by shore anglers, ski-boat anglers and spear fishermn. often soughts as a trophy. The fish's aggressive predatory behaviour makes it vulnerable to overfishing. They have little commercial value.


Category: Recreational List
Daily bag limit: 5 per person per day
Minimum size limit: None
Closed Season: None
Other Regulations: None


The current status of this fish population is not known and little is known about their early life history. The adults may receive some protection in the Maputaland and St Lucia Marine Reserve Sanctuary areas. Greater protection of juveniles (perhaps through a minimum size limit or protection of estuarine nursery habitats) may be necessary to ensure the future sustainable use of this species.

Downloadable fact sheet