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Scomberomorus cavalla

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES SCOMBRIDAE

Scientific Name: Scomberomorus cavalla
Species Authority: (Cuvier, 1829)
Common Name(s):
English King Mackerel, Kingfish
Spanish Carite Sierra, Carite, Carite Lucio, Carito, Carito Lucio, Peto, Rey, Serrucho, Sierra
French Maquereau, Thazard Barré
Synonym(s):
Cybium acervum Cuvier, 1832
Cybium caballa Cuvier, 1832
Cybium cavalla Cuvier, 1829
Cybium clupeoideum Cuvier, 1832
Cybium immaculatum Cuvier, 1832
Scomberomorus caballa (Cuvier, 1832)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-14
Assessor(s): 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., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.
Justification:
The species is under a conservative management regime in the north Atlantic, and recent landings appear stable throughout its range. There may be some local depletions, however the global population is estimated to be stable. This species is listed as Least Concern.
For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
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Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts, USA to Santa Catarina State, Brazil. A record exists for St. Paul's rocks (Lubbock and Edwards 1981), however this may represent a vagrant as there have been no records in the last 15 years despite close monitoring (Hazin, Lessa and Fredou pers. comm. 2010).
Countries:
Native:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Canada; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire); Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Total catch for this species in the Atlantic is probably underestimated due to reporting of unclassified Scombermorus species captures as well as the probably inadequate reporting for artisanal and recreational catches (Manooch 1979).  In the 1980s there was a marked increase in reported landings of all small tuna species combined compared to previous years, reaching a peak of about 139,412 t in 1988. Reported landings for 1989–1995 decreased to approximately 92,637 t, and since then values have oscillated, with a minimum of 69,895 t in 1993 and a maximum of 123,600 t in 2005. Declared catches were 79,228 t in 2006 and 74,087 t in 2007. A preliminary estimate of the total nominal landings of small tunas in 2008 is 55,876 t. The 2008 preliminary catch of small tuna amounted to 55,876 t, of which 3,755 t was King mackerel (STECF 2009). There are more than 10 species of small tunas, but only five of these account for about 88% of the total reported catch by weight. These five species are: Atlantic Bonito (Sarda sarda), Frigate Tuna (Auxis thazard) which may include some catches of Bullet Tuna (Auxis rochei), Little Tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus), King Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), and Atlantic Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus) (ICCAT 2009).

Tagging efforts in the 1970s and 1980s indicated that there are three migratory groups of King Mackerel in United States waters: a western Gulf of Mexico, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic (Johnson et al. 1994, Sheppard et al. 2010). Since there are no genetic differences between the two Gulf of Mexico populations, the species is managed as two migratory stocks: Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern US coast (Gold et al. 2002). Winter migrations occur from both stocks to south Florida where the mixed stock is targeted by a winter fishery. The south US Atlantic stock contributes a significant percentage of landings in the winter mixing zone (Clardy et al. 2008). In the 1980s, this species was considered overfished throughout its US range. The Gulf of Mexico population which has experienced an estimated 2.5-fold increase in spawning stock biomass since the early 1990s displayed a decline in size-at-age for ages 2–7, while the Atlantic population, which has experienced an approximately 45 decline in estimated spawning stock biomass over the same time period, displayed an increase in size-at-age for ages 4–10 (Shepard et al. 2010). Posterior management measures have been effective in rebuilding the stocks to currently healthy levels. The estimated spawning stock biomass (SSB) is currently higher than the SSB maximum sustainable yeild (MSY) and F is lower than FMSY for both the US south Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico stocks (SEDAR 2009, Ortiz 2004). In the U.S., estimates of the SSB for the U.S. South Atlantic stock have declined, ranging from a peak of 12.8 million fish in 1981/82 to 5.9 million in 2001/02. For the Gulf of Mexico stock, the SSB has generally increased from 4 million fish in 1984/85 to 17.2 million in 2006/07 (NFMS SAR 2009). However, this species is considered to have recovered to a healthy level in the U.S.

In northeast Brazil, it is considered near fully exploited (Lessa et al. 2009). Preliminary stock assessment efforts in Trinidad conclude that the stock may be overfished (Hogarth and Martin 2006).

In the U.S., estimates of the SSB for the U.S. South Atlantic stock has declined, ranging from a peak of 12.8 million fish in 1981/82 to 5.9 million in 2001/02. For the Gulf of Mexico stock, the SSB has generally increased from 4 million fish in 1984/85 to 17.2 million in 2006/07 (NFMS SAR 2009).

Between 1976 and 2004, the weight landed in northeastern Brazil (from the state of Piauí to the state of Bahia) rose from 10.9% to 29% (mean=19.4%) of the total catch throughout its entire area of occurrence (Nóbrega and Lessa 2009). The states of Ceará (1,579 t) and Bahia (541 t) contributed the largest volumes in the northeastern region, accounting for 59% and 20.2% of the overall catch, respectively (Nóbrega and Lessa 2009). In northeastern Brazil Lessa et al. (2009) assessed the exploitation status of the stock and estimated a mean annual biomass of 12,742 t for a mean yield of 3,307 t/year, indicating that, despite being underexploited, the stock is near its maximal exploitation limit.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is reef-associated and oceanodromous and is often found in outer reef areas. Larvae are encountered in surface waters of 26.3–31°C and 26.9–35 ppt. It feeds primarily on fishes, in particularly clupeids with smaller quantities of penaeid shrimps and squids. It occurs singly or in small groups often in outer reef areas. Large schools have been found to migrate over considerable distances along the Atlantic U.S. coast, water temperature permitting.

In the northwest Atlantic, King Mackerel spawn from May to November, with males maturing between 2–3 years and females between 3–4 years (Beaumariage 1973, Funicane 1986)s. In Puerto Rico, spawning occurs year-round, with a peak from April–August (Figuerola-Fernandez and Torres-Ruiz 2003). In Ceara State, Brazil, spawning occurs from October to March. In the western Gulf of Mexico, spawning is from May to September (McEachran 1980). Longevity can reach 32 years for females and 26 for males (Nobrega and Lessa 2009). Average generation length across the species range has been estimated at nine years (Collette et al. 2011).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is an important recreational, commercial and artisanal species throughout its range.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This is a commercial species caught with purse seines, gillnet, hook and line and other methods. It is an important species for recreational, commercial, and artisanal fisheries throughout its range. It is potentially ciguatoxic in certain areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is managed in the U.S. under the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources. The management bodies are the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC). The management plan establishes a number of conservation measures that have helped to recuperate king mackerel fisheries including determine quotas, bag limits and trip limits. Drift gill nets were banned in 1989. Size limit in commercial and recreational fisheries is 24 inches fork length (FL).

There are no specific conservation measure in place in Brazil, however there is a restriction on the length of gillnets which may not exceed 2.5 km. This is poorly enforced. The distribution of this species in Brazilian waters may coincide with some marine protected areas where further fishing regulations may apply.

In Trinidad,  fishing effort is not controlled. There are regulations to specify the maximum length and depth and minimum mesh size for gillnets (11 cm). Similar regulations are imposed for seines, with maximum dimensions for the nets and minimum mesh size requirements (Martin and Nowlis 2004).

In the Bahamas, fishing for this species is allowed only with hook and line. Each vessel may have a maximum of six poles. Any migratory fishery resource that is caught shall not in total consist of more than six Kingfish, Dolphin, Tuna or Wahoo per vessel and any resource not intended to be used shall not be injured unnecessarily but be returned to the sea alive.

Citation: 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., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E. 2011. Scomberomorus cavalla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
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