- North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
- Collette, B.B. 2003 Scombridae. Mackerels and tunas. p. 1836-1857. In K.E. Carpenter (ed.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. (Ref. 52976)
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
- North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
Habitat and Ecology
This species feeds on small pelagic fishes such as anchovy, pilchard, sardinella, sprat, silversides, and also pelagic invertebrates. In Mauritania, it is reported to stay near the bottom during the day and goes up to the open water at night (Maigret and Ly 1986). It feeds on copepods and other crustaceans, fishes and squids (Collette and Nauen 1983).
This species may live to 13 years (Carvalho 2002), and has a length at 50% maturity of approximately 18 cm corresponding to an age of about two years (Hattour 2000).
Habitat Type: Marine
Depth range (m): 0 - 62
Depth range (m): 0 - 62
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Diseases and Parasites
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Scomber colias
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.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Scomber colias
Public Records: 35
Specimens with Barcodes: 46
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Worldwide reported landings for this species show steadily increasing catches from 1950 to mid-1980s where catches peaked at nearly 40,000 mt. Since then, there are wide fluctuations with a general decreasing trend but recent years show another peak around 23,000 mt (FAO 2009). One problem with these statistics is that many countries are not reporting their catches.
Since 1991, total Chub Mackerel catch over the Atlantic has shown an increasing trend, reaching a maximum of more than 262,000 t in 2008. To the south of Cape Blanc where the European fleet operates, total Chub Mackerel catch increased over the period 1990–1996, reaching around 100,000 t. It then decreased to reach the low level of around 2,000 t in 1999. Catch then progressively increased until 2003 when a record of 133,000 t was recorded. Since then catches have heavily declined with 38,000 t recorded in 2005 and 33,000 t in 2006, reaching around 80,000 t and 60,000 t in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Assessments were carried out by applying a Schaefer dynamic surplus production model and ICA. Results showed the stocks to be Fully Exploited (STECF 2009).
Since 2003 there has been at least a 50% decline in catches based on the Fully Exploited status in the eastern Atlantic (STECF 2009), although there is no information on current effort. In Argentina this used to be an important commercial species, however, this fishery no longer exists.
In the Mediterranean, this is a common and locally abundant species that has fairly high, fluctuating catches. There has been a steady decline in landings of this species since the 1980s which is confirmed by anecdotal evidence from fishery experts. However, within the last 10 years (generation length of three years) the fluctuations have been inconclusive in terms of any trend. Current exploitation levels are intense with technological creeping (advances) and because of the steady decline over the past 20 years this species is regionally considered Near Threatened based on population declines suspected to be approaching 30% based on A2d. Recent decreases in population trends may be parallel with recent increases in Scomber scombrus.
Atlantic chub mackerel
Atlantic chub mackerel (Scomber colias) is a pelagic schooling species of mackerel found in the Atlantic Ocean, also in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It was originally thought to be a subspecies of the Chub mackerel Scomber japonicus colias.
The Atlantic chub mackerel is a long, streamlined fish with a deeply forked tail. The first dorsal fin has nine or ten spines and is separated from the second dorsal fin by a space at least as long as its base. The origin of the anal fin is directly below or just behind the origin of the second dorsal fin. This fish is silvery in colour, the upper surface has oblique zigzagging lines while the belly is paler and spotted or marked with wavy lines. 
This fish is particularly abundant in the Eastern Mediterranean. There two variants are distinguished: in the late summer and autumn, after it has bred, the fish is fat and roe-filled, whereas in the late winter and spring it is very lean, almost emaciated. The Greek names for the two forms are koliós and tsíros, respectively. They are usually roasted, although the former form is often packed in salt for later consumption. The fish releases its own oil into the salt packing and acquires a very long shelf life. In the islands of the Aegean it is a particularly popular delicacy, under the name of goúna: fresh-caught mackerel is split open at the belly, eviscerated, and left to dry flesh-side up in the sun for one day. The same evening it is very briefly seared over barbecue fire and then served with lemon juice.
This fish has a wide range and is abundant over parts of that range. Although it is heavily fished in places, the population seems relatively stable and the IUCN has listed this species as being of "Least Concern".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scomber colias.|
- Collette, B., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E. (2011). "Scomber colias". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- "Species fact sheets: Scomber japonicus (Houttuyn, 1782)". FAO. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Scomber colias formerly was considered to be conspecific with S. japonicus. Nelson et al. (2004) listed the two as distinct species.