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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: mackerel (English), caballa (Espanol), macarela (Espanol)
 
Scomber australasicus Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1832


Spotted chub mackerel,     Blue mackerel


Body elongate, rounded; fatty eyelid covering nearly all of eye; teeth at front and sides of roof of mouth; 2 well separated dorsal fins; first dorsal with X-XIII spines; distance between spine X and origin of second dorsal fin greater than distance between spines I and X; 5 finlets after second dorsal and anal fins; pectoral fins high; tail deeply forked; two small keels on each side of the slender tail base; lateral line simple; entire body covered with small scales.



Blue-grey upper body;  zigzag lines along all of back and upper tail base; belly pearly white with thin undulating, discontinuous spotted lines.



Size: 47 cm.

Habitat: epipelagic, coastal.


Depth: 0-300 m.

An Indo-Pacific species; perhaps resident in the Revillagigedos.
   
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Biology

Occurs in coastal waters (Ref. 9340) and also in oceanic waters (Ref. 9563). Minimum depth reported at 87 m (Ref. 58489); fishing depths to 265 m (cited in Ref. 58302). Schooling by size which may include jack mackerels and Pacific sardines. They are plankton feeders filtering copepods and other crustaceans, but adults also feed on small fish and squids. Also caught with encircling nets (Ref. 9340). Marketed fresh, dried-salted, smoked, canned and frozen (Ref. 9987).
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Distribution

Depth

Depth Range (m): 0 (G) - 300 (G)
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, TEP non-endemic, Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans), "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific), All Pacific (West + Central + East)

Regional Endemism: All species, Eastern Pacific non-endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Island (s), Island (s) only

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
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Range Description

This species is present in the western Pacific from China and Japan to Australia and New Zealand, extending east to the Hawaiian Islands. In the Eastern Pacific it is a resident only in the Revillagigedo Islands. It also occurs in the Red Sea. It is relatively rare in tropical waters.
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Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea, Persian Gulf; from Japan, south to Australia and New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: Hawaii and off Mexico (Socorro Island).
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Red Sea, Indo-Pacific: Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf); Japan and Kuril Islands south to Australia and New Zealand, east to Hawaiian Islands; Socorro Island off Mexico (Eastern Pacific).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Size

Length max (cm): 47.0 (S)
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Dorsal spines (total): 10 - 13; Dorsal soft rays (total): 12; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 12; Vertebrae: 31
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Size

Maximum size: 400 mm FL
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Max. size

44.0 cm FL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637)); max. published weight: 1,360 g (Ref. 40637)
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Diagnostic Description

No well developed corselet but body covered with rather small scales. Palatine narrow. Anal fin origin clearly more posterior than that of second dorsal fin. Anal fin spine independent from anal fin. Swim bladder present. Snout pointed. Interpelvic process small and single. Back with narrow oblique lines which zigzag and undulate; the belly is pearly white and marked with thin, wavy broken lines.
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Ecology

Habitat

Salinity: Marine, Marine Only

Inshore/Offshore: Offshore Only, Offshore

Water Column Position: Surface, Near Surface, Mid Water, Water column only

Habitat: Water column

FishBase Habitat: Pelagic
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This pelagic and oceanodromous species occurs in coastal waters (Collette 1995) and also in oceanic waters (May and Maxwell 1986) to depths of 300 m. This species schools by size, and schools may include Jack Mackerels and Pacific sardines. They are plankton feeders, filtering copepods and other crustaceans, but adults also feed on small fishes and squids.

This species has an age of first maturity of two years (Stevens et al. 1984), and longevity is eight years in Australia (Stevens et al. 1984). However, this species is larger and longer lived in New Zealand, where longevity has been estimated to be as high as 24 years (Morrison et al. 2001) and length of first maturity is 28 cm (approximately three years) (Manning et al. 2007). In Japan, this species has an age of first maturity of one year and the longevity is approximately six years (Uozumi pers comm. 2009).

Generation length in Japan, is therefore estimated to be 2–3 years, however it may be higher in Australia and New Zealand.

Maximum Size is 40 cm fork length (FL). The all-tackle angling record is of a 1.36 kg fish caught off Kochi, Japan in 2000 (IGFA 2011).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 87 - 200 m (Ref. 9563)
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Depth range based on 634 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 120 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 8.5 - 493.5
  Temperature range (°C): 7.732 - 24.022
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.072 - 19.868
  Salinity (PPS): 34.419 - 36.064
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.404 - 6.287
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.126 - 1.350
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.128 - 9.529

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 8.5 - 493.5

Temperature range (°C): 7.732 - 24.022

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.072 - 19.868

Salinity (PPS): 34.419 - 36.064

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.404 - 6.287

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.126 - 1.350

Silicate (umol/l): 1.128 - 9.529
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 0 - 200m.
Recorded at 200 meters.

Habitat: pelagic. Occurs in coastal waters (Ref. 9340) and also in oceanic waters (Ref. 9563). Schooling by size which may include jack mackerels and Pacific sardines. They are plankton feeders filtering copepods and other crustaceans, but adults also feed on small fish and squids. Also caught with encircling nets (Ref. 9340). Marketed fresh, dried-salted, smoked, canned and frozen (Ref. 9987).
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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore, Planktivore

Diet: octopus/squid/cuttlefish, Pelagic crustacea, zooplankton, pelagic fish eggs, pelagic fish larvae, bony fishes
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Occurs in coastal waters (Ref. 9340) and also in oceanic waters (Ref. 9563). Schooling (by size) begins in the postlarval and juvenile stages. They are plankton feeders filtering copepods and other crustaceans, but adults also feed on small fish and squids. Also caught with encircling nets (Ref. 9340).
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Egg Type: Pelagic, Pelagic larva
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Scomber australasicus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 16 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACCCGCTGATTTTTCTCAACAAACCATAAAGACATCGGCACCCTCTACCTAGTATTCGGTGCATGAGCTGGAATAGTTGGCACGGCCTTA---AGCTTGCTTATCCGAGCTGAACTAAGTCAACCAGGGTCCCTTCTCGGCGAC---GACCAAATCTACAACGTAATTGTTACGGCTCACGCCTTCGTTATAATCTTCTTTTTAGTAATGCCAGTTATGATTGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGACTGATCCCCCTAATG---ATCGGAGCCCCCGACATGGCATTTCCCCGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTTCTGCCCCCATCTCTCCTGCTACTCCTGTCCTCTTCGGCAGTTGAAGCCGGTGCTGGAACTGGCTGAACAGTTTATCCTCCCCTCGCTGGGAACCTGGCACACGCCGGGGCATCAGTTGATTTA---ACCATCTTCTCACTCCACCTAGCAGGTGTTTCCTCAATCCTTGGGGCCATTAACTTCATCACAACAATCATTAACATGAAACCTGCAGGTGTATCCCAATACCAAACCCCTCTGTTCGTCTGAGCAGTCCTAATTACAGCTGTCCTTCTCCTTCTATCCCTACCAGTTCTTGCTGCC---GGCATTACAATGCTCCTAACAGACCGAAATCTAAATACTACCTTCTTCGACCCTGGAGGAGGGGGAGACCCCATTCTTTACCAACACCTCTTCTGATTCTTCGGCCACCCCGAAGTCTACATTCTTATTCTTCCAGGATTCGGAATAATCTCTCATATCGTTGCCTACTACGCCGGTAAAAAA---GAACCCTTCGGCTACATGGGTATGGTATGAGCCATGATGGCCATCGGCCTACTAGGCTTTATTGTATGAGCCCATCACATGTTTACAGTCGGAATAGACGTAGACACACGAGCGTATTTCACATCCGCAACTATAATCATCGCAATTCCAACGGGTGTAAAAGTCTTTAGCTGACTT---GCAACCCTCCACGGAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Scomber australasicus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 14
Specimens with Barcodes: 33
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Collette, B., Acero, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., Chang, S.-K., Chiang, W., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Guzman-Mora, A., Juan Jorda, M., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Salas, E., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Uozumi, Y., Wang, S., Wu, J., Yanez, E. & Yeh, S.

Reviewer/s
Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is found primarily in the northwest and southwest Pacific Ocean. In the northwest Pacific, estimated spawning stock biomass for at least one stock is increasing, while for the other stock it is fluctuating, but relatively stable. It is listed as Least Concern. However, more information on the status of this species population in other parts of its range is recommended.
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Population

Population
There are important fisheries for this species in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand but no catch data has been identified for this species in these countries (Collette and Nauen 1983). Some reported landings for this species may be mixed with S. japonicus. However, the majority of the reported worldwide catch is from New Zealand (FAO 2009).

In Japan and the Tsushima Current spawning stock biomass for the Pacific Stock has been estimated to be steadily since 1995 from 50,000 to 150,000 tonnes with a peak of 300,000 tonnes in 2006 (Watanabe pers comm 2009). Estimated spawning stock biomass for the East China Sea fluctuates between 40,000 to 80,000 tonnes from 1992 to 2007 (Watanabe pers comm 2009).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is caught with encircling nets (Collette 1995) in some parts of its range. In Japan, this species has a lower price than S. japonicus which is considered to have a better taste (Uozumi pers comm 2009).
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
In Taiwan, this species and Scomber japonicus can only be caught by eight sets of purse-seine vessels. In New Zealand and Australia, there are recreational bag limits and catch limits for all mackerel species. More information on the status of the stock in other parts of this species range is recommended.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; bait: usually
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Wikipedia

Blue mackerel

The blue mackerel, Japanese mackerel, Pacific mackerel, slimy mackerel, or spotted chub mackerel, Scomber australasicus, a fish of the family Scombridae, is found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean from Japan south to Australia and New Zealand, in Eastern Pacific (Hawaii and Socorro Island (Mexico), also in the Indo-West Pacific: the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden, in surface waters down to 200 m (660 ft). In Japanese, it is known as goma saba (胡麻鯖 sesame mackerel). Its length is between 30 cm and 65 cm (12 in and 25 in), and weighs a little over a kilogram (2 lbs).

Characteristics[edit]

Blue mackerel are often mistaken for chub mackerel. In fact, blue mackerel were believed to be a subspecies of chub mackerel until the late 1980’s. Even though they are both in the same family (scomber), blue mackerel set themselves apart by differing structural genes than those of the chub mackerel.[1] Other, more obvious, characteristics set these two apart, like the longer anal spine of the blue mackerel, and the amount of the first dorsal spines.[1] Mackerels have a round body that narrows into the tail after the second dorsal fin, similar to a tuna fish.[2] The Blue mackerel is known as a voracious and indiscriminate feeder, they will devour microscopic plankton and krill, live anchovy, engulf dead cut bait, and strike readily on lures and other flies. When in a school and in a feeding frenzy, they will strike at non-food items such as cigarette butts and even bare hooks. While relatively small in size, pound for pound mackerel score high for their fighting ability. Blue mackerels are carnivores, eating smaller fish in their same region of the upper layer of the ocean, also called the pelagic zone. Due to their eating habits and their diurnal lifestyles, blue mackerels have adapted a higher sensitivity in their retinas, allowing better eyesight even during the night to catch their prey. Another adaptation of blue mackerels is their eye size. They typically have larger eyes than herbivores in their same region.[3]

Habitat[edit]

Throughout the life of a mackerel, they tend to stay in areas that are within a few degrees of 10 C.[4] This species typically stays in tropical to subtropical waters.[1] Off the east coast of North America, populations of mackerel have grown to over two million after being depleted in 1982.[4] Blue mackerels can be found anywhere from the coast of North America, and as far as Australia and Japan.

Life Span[edit]

Incubation periods range from three to eight days. Periods are shorter when the temperature is higher, and longer when the temperature is lower.[4] In the East China Sea, blue mackerels spawn between February and May, when the water temperatures are ideal.[5] In New South Whales, most spawning occurs 10 nanometers off of the northern shore, in waters that are 100 to 125 meters deep. The Eastern Australian Current can carry eggs and larvae away from the original spawning grounds, broadening the area in which blue mackerels are located. However, egg and larvae probability of surviving decreases the further they are carried by the Eastern Australian Current.[6] A mature blue mackerel is considered to be over 310 millimeters.[5] Mackerels can live up to seven years and grow to be up to 50 cm, but are most commonly found to be between one and three years of age.[7][8] Counting the marks on otoliths determines the age of blue mackerels.[8]

Fishing[edit]

The blue mackerel can be flighty and difficult to catch, especially in estuaries and harbors. 300 to 500 million tons of blue mackerel have been caught annually since the mid 1980s, without many fluctuations from month to month catches. Blue mackerels are caught for both commercial and private use. For private use, the limit is 50 mackerel per day. They are caught for consumption as well as bait for tuna and other fishing expeditions.[9]

As food[edit]

While Mackerel are often used as sushi "Saba", they are a strong tasting meat which is best for consumption if smoked, barbecued, or boiled.The Pacific Blue mackerel whilst easy to fillet and skin can be difficult to debone and care must be taken not to damage the soft flesh. Due to the care needed to skin the blue mackerel, the fish is known to be fastidious to clean, dress, and prepare for consumption. In light of this, simply taking fillets from the body and cooking with the skin and small bones on can be the best method for making them into a meal. Blue mackerel have a dark red meat.[7] Blue mackerel are utilized as meat binders as well as main meat entrees. After being freeze-dried, the protein is extractable and put into other meat products to keep the meat and seasonings tightly together. By using mackerel to bind the meat, cheaper and more appealing products are available to consumers. Not only are products cheaper, but they are also better in flavor, texture, and create larger portions, according to Fisheries Science.[10]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Tzeng, Chen, Tang, and Chiu (June 2009). "Microsatellite and mitochondrial haplotype differentiation in blue mackerel (Scomber australasicus) from the western North Pacifi". ICES Journal of marine science. 
  2. ^ "Blue Mackerel". Amalgameted marketing. Amalgameted marketing. 
  3. ^ Pankhurst, Neville (1989). The relationship of ocular morphology to feeding modes and activity periods in shallow marine teleosts in New Zealand. Kluwer academic publishers. 
  4. ^ a b c Studholme, Packer, Berrien, Johnson, Zetlin, and Morse (September 1999). Atlantic Mackerel, Life History and Habitat Characteristics. U.S. Department of Commerce. 
  5. ^ a b Yukami, Oshimo, Yoda, and Hiyama (1 February 2009). Estimation of the spawning grounds of chub mackerel and spotted mackerel in the East China Sea. Fisheries Science. 
  6. ^ Neira and Keane (July 2008). Ichthyoplankton-based spawning dynamics of blue mackerel in South-Eastern Australia. Fisheries Oceanography. 
  7. ^ a b "Blue Mackerel". Wild Fisheries Research Program. I&INSW. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Stewart, John, and Ferrel, Douglas (10 March 2000). "Age, Growth, and landings of yellowtail scad and blue mackerel off the coast of New South Whales, Australia". New Zealand Journal of marine and freshwater research. 
  9. ^ "Blue Mackerel". Wild Fisheries Research Program. I&INSW. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Chung, Ho, Chyan, and Jiang (February 2009). Utilization of freeze-dried mackerel muscle proteins as a binder in restructured meat. Fisheries Science. 
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