They are found globally in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, as well as numerous seas including the Norwegian, Mediterranean, and Sea of Japan. Nearly all species can be found in the high seas. However, fishes in the genera Pterycombus and Pteraclis tend to be found off continental shelves. Further, fishes in the genus Eumegistus are hypothesized to be largely benthic and found to occupy deep water shelves.
Several species are important food sources for humans, especially Brama brama in the South Asia. The earlier form of the pomfret's name was "pamflet", a word which probably ultimately comes from Portuguese pampo, referring to various fish such as the blue butterfish (Stromateus fiatola). The fish meat is white in color.