Scomber colias 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Scombridae

Scientific Name: Scomber colias Gmelin, 1789
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Atlantic Chub Mackerel
French Maquereau Blanc
Pneumatophorus japonicus ssp. marplatensis López, 1955
Scomber capensis Cuvier, 1832
Scomber colias Gmelin, 1789
Scomber dekayi Storer, 1855
Scomber gigas Fowler, 1935
Scomber gracilis Swainson, 1839
Scomber grex Mitchill, 1814
Scomber macrophthalmus Rafinesque, 1810
Scomber maculatus Couch, 1832
Scomber pneumatophorus Delaroche, 1809
Scomber scomber ssp. lacertus Walbaum, 1792
Scomber undulatus Swainson, 1839
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 7 January 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 7 January 2015).
Taxonomic Notes: This species is now recognized as distinct from the Indo-Pacific Scomber japonicus (Collette 1999, Infante et al. 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-15
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., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E.
Reviewer(s): Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.
This species is widespread and abundant in many parts of its range. The species is targeted mainly in the eastern Atlantic portion of its range. It is fast-growing and matures at 2–3 years of age but is relatively long-lived, typically 8–10 years. The greatest landings reported are from the eastern central Atlantic where the landings have fluctuated, although an assessment by STECF (2009) determined that the stock is fully-exploited. However, there is no evidence of long term declines. The species is listed as Least Concern. However, there are some indications of regional declines and cases of local depletions should be monitored closely.
For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
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Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is present in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean and Black Sea. It is replaced by Scomber japonicus in the Indo-Pacific. In the Atlantic, the range of this species is not continuous between the east and west and north and south. These should be considered separate stocks or populations.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Angola; Argentina; Bahamas; Barbados; Benin; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Brazil; Bulgaria; Cameroon; Colombia; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Curaçao; Cyprus; Dominican Republic; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; France; Gabon; Georgia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Grenada; Guinea; Guyana; Israel; Italy; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Monaco; Morocco; Mozambique; Nigeria; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sao Tomé and Principe; Sierra Leone; Slovenia; South Africa; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Ukraine; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is common throughout the Mediterranean and is abundant particularly in the southern part.

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.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is a coastal pelagic species, and to a lesser extent epipelagic to mesopelagic over the continental slope (Collette and Nauen 1983). Schooling by size is well developed and initiates at approximately 3 cm (Collette and Nauen 1983). It may also form schools with Sarda species, bonitos, jacks, and clupeids (Collette 1995).

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).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is important in commercial fisheries throughout its range.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is caught mostly with purse seines, often together with sardines, and sometimes using light trolling lines, gill nets, traps, beach seines and midwater trawls. In the Mediterranean the technology used to catch this species is becoming more sophisticated.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a minimum size limit of 18 cm for all Scomber species in the European Union and Turkey. In the Mediterranean, a targeted management plan for this species is needed to reverse long term declining trends. Better data on fishing and fishing effort will help to further assess this species in the future.

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., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Teixeira Lessa, R.P. & Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E. 2011. Scomber colias. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170357A6767497. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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