Scomber colias 

Scope: Mediterranean
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: The recent recognition of two separate species (Collette 1999) that previously were united into a single species, Scomber japonicus, is likely to cause confusion in the catch data in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2007-11-15
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Di Natale, A., Oral, M. & Kada, O.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Harwell, H., Polidoro, B. & Carpenter, K.
This is a common and locally abundant species that has fairly high, fluctuating catch rates in the Mediterranean Sea. There has been a steady decline in landings of this species since the 1980's which is confirmed by anecdotal evidence from fishery experts. However, within the last 10 years the fluctuations have been inconclusive in terms of any trend. Current exploitation levels are intense with recent technological advances. Although some data is lacking, it is estimated that there has been at least a 20% decline over the past 20 years (three generation lengths). This species is listed as Near Threatened. Recent decreases in population trends may be parallel with recent increases in Scomber scomber increases. 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.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is present in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Mediterranean Sea. It is replaced by Scomber japonicus in the Indo-Pacific.
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; Montenegro; 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 abundant particularly in the southern part.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) landings for this species show steadily increasing catches from 1950 to mid-1980s where it peaked at nearly 40,000 t. Since then, there are wide fluctuations with a general decreasing trend, but recent years show another peak around 23,000 t. One problem with these statistics is that many countries are not reporting their catches. Overall, it is estimated that there has been a steady decline in landings of approximately 30% since the 1980s, and 20% since the 1990s.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a pelagic, oceanodromous species. It is also a coastal pelagic species, 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, bonitos, jades, and clupeids (Collette 1995).

It stays near the bottom during the day and goes up to the open water at night, (Maigret and Ly 1986) where it feeds on copepods and other crustaceans, fishes and squids (Collette and Nauen 1983). A recent study on feeding habits in the Aegean Sea underline that teleosts and taliaceans were their main prey items(Sever et al. 2006). It is said to move to deeper water and remain inactive during the winter season (Nikol'skii 1954).

Spawning most often occurs at water temperatures of 15° to 20°C. It spawns in several batches with 250 to 300 eggs per gram of fish with the total number of eggs per female ranging from 100,000 to 400,000.

Based on Scomber japonicus, this species likely has a longevity of approximately 7-14 years, with an age of first maturity of 2-4 years (Sato 1990, Dorval 2007, Caramantin-Soriano et al. 2008). Generation length is therefore estimated to be approximately 4-6 years.
Generation Length (years):4-6

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is a large demand for this species, especially for the canning industry that allows greater exploitation beyond current demand.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is caught mostly by purse seines, but also by gill nets and hand lines. In the Mediterranean the technology used to catch this species is becoming more sophisticated. In addition, there is a large demand for this species, especially for the canning industry that allows greater exploitation beyond current demand.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a minimum size of 18 cm for Scomber species caught in European Union and Turkey.

Citation: Di Natale, A., Oral, M. & Kada, O. 2011. Scomber colias. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170357A6768014. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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