King Mackerel

(Scomberomorus commerson)

Spanish mackerel, Couta

1. What is it?

King mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) are fast growing, large, schooling fish reaching sexual maturity after 1 – 2 years. An assessment conducted in 2013 indicated that this transboundary stock was optimally exploited in KwaZulu-Natal but over exploited in neighbouring Mozambique.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

King mackerel are caught using traditional rod and reel or handlines. In general, linefishing is a selective fishing method with few impacts on the marine environment. When fishing for resident reef fish species, the linefishery is likely to impact overfished, vulnerable or ETP species. However, when fishing for highly mobile pelagic species the impact is generally lower. Catches of un-managed bycatch species are moderate making up around 12% of the total catch.

3. Where is it from?

King mackerel are caught mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mozambique. Management for the sector is considered partly effective. In South Africa, this sector is principally managed through a total allowable effort (TAE) limitation. The recreational sector is also subject to a bag limit (10 pp /pd). There is concern over the impact of the continuously growing recreational sector as well as uncertainties surrounding the allocation of small-scale fishing rights. Some steps have been taken to implement an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) management including the recent addition of 21 new Marine Protected Areas which are likely to provide additional protection to several linefish species.