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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

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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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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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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Depth

Depth Range (m): 0 (G) - 300 (G)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 10 - 13; Dorsal soft rays (total): 12; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 12; Vertebrae: 31
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Size

Length max (cm): 47.0 (S)
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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

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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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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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

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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Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore, Planktivore

Diet: octopus/squid/cuttlefish, Pelagic crustacea, zooplankton, pelagic fish eggs, pelagic fish larvae, bony fishes
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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 --

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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 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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IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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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 and 65 cm (12 and 25 in), and weight over a kilogram (2 lbs).

Fishing[edit]

Although at times flighty and difficult to catch particularly when in estuaries and harbours, 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 schooled 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. 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, as a result it is known to be finicky 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 very tasty meal.

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.

References[edit]

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