King Mackerel

(Scomberomorus commerson)

Spanish mackerel, Couta

This species is under revision for linefishing

1. What is it?

King mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) (Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel) are fast growing, large, schooling fish reaching sexual maturity after 1-2 years. It is an epipelagic, neritic species widespread throughout the Indo-West Pacific typically occurring between 10-70m depths. Stock levels are rated as optimally exploited.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

South Africa

King mackerels are caught using linefishing methods. . The traditional linefishery uses traditional rod and reel or handlines. Linefishing is a relatively selective fishing method with few impacts on the marine environment little accidental bycatch.


King mackerel are also caught in Mozambique using uses traditional rod-and-reel methods and handlines to catch a variety of reef and bottom associated species. The linefishery consists of the industrial, semi-industrial, recreational, sport and artisanal sectors. The fishery is likely to cause significant damage to some listed, overfished or highly vulnerable species, specifically, demersal reef species that are overexploited or overfished. The fishery has few discards and there are very few “non-target” species landed in the sector.

3. Where is it from?

South Africa

King mackerels are caught mainly from KwaZulu-Natal to 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 and there are additional restrictions to protect overfished species such as bag limits (10) for recreational fishers. There is some concern over the impact of the small-scale fishery rights allocation beyond the recommended TAE and the continuously growing recreational sector.


A management plan was developed in 2013 that includes all linefishing sectors. Management for the industrial and semi-industrial sectors (commercial fishery) is considered to be marginally effective. The sector is principally managed by total allowable effort (TAE), although these targets have been exceeded significantly. Additional measures to reduce growth-overfishing and to minimise the impact of harvesting immature fish are size limitations and gear restriction. Management of the artisanal sector is virtually non-existent and of substantial conservation concern. The recreational fishery is regulated by a bag limit.