King Mackerel


Family Scombridae, MACKERELS and TUNAS
Scomberomorous cavalla

Illustration and Copyright by Diane Rome Peebles
Illustrations are for viewing purposes only.

Description: color of back iridescent bluish green; sides silvery, streamlined body with tapered head; no black pigment on front of dorsal fin; lateral line starts high and drops sharply below the second dorsal fin; young fish often have yellow spots like those of the Spanish mackerel.

Similar Fish: cero, S. regalis; Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus.

Where found: NEARSHORE and OFFSHORE, occasionally taken from piers running into deep water.

Possession and Size Limits: 2 per person, 24” FL.

Size: common to 20 pounds.

Remarks: schooling fish that migrates from south Florida waters in winter to more northerly waters in spring; Gulf population thought to be separate from Atlantic population, with considerable mixing in winter from Cape Canaveral past Key West; spawns in midsummer OFFSHORE; feeds on small fish and squid.

Stock Status: to a 2008 SEDAR 16 Stock Assessment, king mackerel are neither overfished, nor experiencing overfishing.  A king mackerel assessment is scheduled to begin in late 2013, and will be completed in 2014.