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Scomberomorus semifasciatus  (Macleay, 1883)

Broad-barred king mackerel
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Image of Scomberomorus semifasciatus (Broad-barred king mackerel)
Scomberomorus semifasciatus
Picture by FAO

Australia country information

Common names: Broadbanded mackerel, Broad-barred mackerel, Brownie
Occurrence: native
Salinity: brackish
Abundance: common (usually seen) | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Importance: commercial | Ref: Collette, B.B. and C.E. Nauen, 1983
Aquaculture: never/rarely | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Regulations: restricted | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Uses: gamefish: yes;
Comments: Present from Shark Bay to northern New South Wales (Ref. 6390). Stock structure: The stock structure is unclear (Ref. 30572). There is genetic differentiation between fish from the Gulf of Carpentaria and those from the Queensland east coast (Ref. 30572). However, no evidence of stock differentiation amongst the east coast population has been found (Ref. 30572). Commercial fishery: In Western Australia, grey mackerel are fished north of 24°S. Mackerel fishing is a major fishery on the North West Shelf. The fishery peaks in July and August, and weather conditions restrict fishing operations during the wet monsoon period (December-February) (Ref. 30203, 27266). Taiwanese fleets fished for Scomberomorus species off northern Australia from 1974 to mid-1986 (Ref. 26279) and in the Gulf of Carpentaria until the fleet’s exclusion in 1978. The Taiwanese used drifting gillnets ranging in length from 8 km to more than 20 km (Ref. 26279). Australian Government regulations in 1986 limited the gillnet lengths to 2.5 km or less, effectively making the Taiwanese gillnet fishery uneconomic in Australian waters. The Queensland fishery for mackerel is the State’s major offshore finfish fishery (Ref. 30220) and has been operating for at least 60 years (Ref. 30219). In 1989-90, its value was estimated at A$3.4 million, of which more than 66% was Spanish mackerel. The Queensland fishery extends from the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, through Torres Strait and along the east coast, although most fishing takes place from north of Cooktown to Mackay. Mackerel fishers operate mostly from the ports of Cairns, Townsville, Yeppoon, Mackay and Bundaberg. Mackerel are fished to approximately 30°S (Coffs Harbour) in New South Wales. The east coast fishery targets mackerel during the spring spawning season and the northward migration (Ref. 30194) and later in summer-early autumn in southern Queensland. Fishes from 60 to 90 cm FL are caught in fishing grounds north of Yeppoon, Queensland, in November, while smaller size groups are taken in estuaries north of Moreton Bay (Ref. 9684). Catch rates vary depending on the time of day (early morning and evenings are preferred), moon phase, tides, water temperature, depth (Ref. 30221), sea floor temperatures (Ref. 30205), trolling speed and the fishers’ experience (Ref. 30221). The size of the fishing operation varies, from a mothership up to 16 m long operating several dories through smaller vessels without dories, to dinghies operating from island locations. All Scomberomorus are susceptible to drifting gillnets. There are localised gillnet fisheries for small mackerel through almost their entire distribution in Australia, from approximately Shark Bay to northern New South Wales. Sharks form an important part of the catch in these fishing operations (Ref. 30205), and fishers target either shark or mackerel depending on availability and market demand. A small amount of mackerel is taken with offshore drifting gillnets by domestic fishers in north-eastern Queensland, where reasonable quantities of juvenile mackerel are also caught inshore. Demersal otter trawlers targeting prawns in northern Australia may catch substantial quantities of mackerel either as bycatch or by line fishing. Some boats engaged primarily in other fisheries in northern waters switch to trolling mackerel when the fish are biting. Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) (in north-eastern Australia) and shark mackerel (Grammatorcynus species) (in north-western Australia) are important bycatches of the mackerel troll fishery. Mackerel are marketed frozen, fresh or chilled as gilled-and-gutted whole fish or trunks, and are retailed as fillets or cutlets. In Western Australia, the mackerel are gutted or put in chilled brine for gutting later the same day (Ref. 27266). In Queensland, some fish are filleted on the boats and stored on ice or frozen. Small local operations prepare smoked mackerel. Much of the Northern Territory product is trucked interstate, whereas Western Australian and Queensland product is sold both locally and interstate. Mackerel is in high market demand in Australia. It is a staple of the ‘fish-and-chips’ trade in Queensland. Recreational fishery: In Queensland, line gear is used by recreational fishers. Resource status: As of 1993, no studies on the resource status of mackerel had been conducted. Ciguatera poisoning is associated with mackerel. A lipid-soluble toxin, similar to ciguatoxin, has been found in individual mackerel caught between 24°S and 26°S off Queensland (Ref. 168) and also in mackerel from the Gove Peninsula area, Northern Territory.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
National Database:

Common names from other countries

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Scombridae (Mackerels, tunas, bonitos) > Scombrinae
Etymology: Scomberomorus: Latin, scomber = mackerel + Greek, moros = silly, stupid (Ref. 45335).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; brackish; pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range ? - 100 m (Ref. 6390).   Tropical; 7°S - 30°S, 112°E - 157°E (Ref. 168)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Western Pacific: southern Papua New Guinea and northern Australia, from Shark Bay, Western Australia to northern New South Wales. Reports of this species from Thailand and Malaysia are based on misidentifications.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 75 - ? cm
Max length : 120 cm FL male/unsexed; (Ref. 168); max. published weight: 10.0 kg (Ref. 168)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 13 - 15; Dorsal soft rays (total): 19-22; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 19 - 22; Vertebrae: 44 - 46. Interpelvic process small and bifid. Lateral line gradually curving down toward caudal peduncle. Intestine with 2 folds and 3 limbs. Swim bladder absent. Body covered with small scales. Juveniles (less than 10 cm) marked with 12-20 vertical bands which becomes less distinct or break into spots in larger fish.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found more commonly around coastal headlands and rocky reefs but are also caught offshore (Ref. 6390). Juveniles (4.5 to 10 cm length) are commonly encountered during November along the beaches of Townsville, Queensland and grow to twice this size by January. They are pelagic predators, feeding exclusively on baitfish (sardines and herrings (Ref. 30572). Caught also with set lines aside from trolling with small lures or cut bait. Marketed fresh and frozen; eaten fried, broiled and baked (Ref. 9988).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Collette, Bruce B. | Collaborators

Collette, B.B. and C.E. Nauen, 1983. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 2. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(2):137 p. (Ref. 168)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 6390)

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; bait: occasionally
FAO(Publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Internet sources

Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 25.9 - 28.7, mean 27.7 (based on 506 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.80 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.6; tm=1-2; tmax=12).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (39 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.