Indo-Pacific King Mackerel fish identification, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
Indo-Pacific king mackerel is a popular game fish and grows up to 45 kg (100 lbs) and is a strong fighter, which has on occasion been seen to leap out of the water when hooked. It is excellent table fare and is extremely sporting. It is very popular among the countries of the Indian subcontinent including India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It's a fairly expensive fish that's considered a delicacy in most places. In addition to being cooked and eaten when fresh, it is also used to make fish pickle, usually eaten as a condiment with rice.
Indo-Pacific King Mackerel, Scomberomorus guttatus, also known as Indian Spanish Mackerel, Indo-Pacific Spanish Mackerel, Spotted Seer, Spotted Seerfish, Spotted Seer Fish, Spotted Spanish Mackerel, Thazard Ponctué Indo-pacifique in France, Carite del Indo-Pacífico, Carite Estriado in Spain. This species is found in the Indo-West Pacific from the Persian Gulf between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran, India and Sri Lanka to Southeast Asia, north to Hong Kong and Wakasa Bay, Sea of Japan, south to the Gulf of Thailand.
Body is elongate and compressed, the depth of body is 22.8 to 25.2% of fork length, less than in Korean Seerfish, Scomberomorus koreanus (26.7% of fork length). Head is pointed, nearly equal to body depth, 20.2 to 21.5% of fork length, larger than in Korean Seerfish (19.7 to 20.4% of fork length). Mouth is moderately large, the maxilla exposed on check, nearly reaching posterior edge of eye, teeth are large, compressed, and triangular, those in lower jaw larger. Teeth present on vomer and palatines.
Dorsal fins narrowly separated; second dorsal fin higher than anterior part of first dorsal. Interpelvic process small and bifid. Swim bladder absent. Lateral line single and irregular with many fine auxiliary branches extending dorsally and ventrally in anterior third, gradually curving down toward caudal peduncle below second dorsal fin and first two finlets. Intestine with 2 folds and 3 limbs. Body fully covered with small scales.
Distinguishing characteristics: 8 to 14 Gill rakers on first arch moderate: 1 or 2 on upper limb and 7 to 12 on lower limb. First dorsal fin with 15 to 18 spines, usually 16 or more; second dorsal with 18 to 24 rays, usually 20 to 22, followed by 7 to 10 finlets; anal fin with 19 to 23 rays; followed by 7 to 10 finlets, usually 8; few pectoral fin rays, 20 to 23, mostly 21. 47 to 52, usually 50 or 51 vertebrae: 19 to 22 precaudal plus 28 to 31 caudal.
15–18 Dorsal spines
18-24 Dorsal soft rays
19–23 Anal soft rays
Maximum length is 76 cm
Sides are silvery white with several longitudinal rows of round dark brownish spots (smaller than eye diameter) scattered in about 3 irregular rows along lateral line. First dorsal fin membrane black (up to the 8th spine white posteriorly, with the distal margin black; pectoral, second dorsal and caudal fins dark brown; pelvic and anal fins silvery white.
Indo-Pacific King Mackerel are pelagic migratory species that forms small schools and inhabits coastal waters at depths between 15-200 m, sometimes entering turbid estuarine areas.
The Indo-Pacific king mackerel feeds mainly on small schooling fishes (especially sardines and anchovies), squids and crustaceans. Juveniles in India feed mainly on teleosts, particularly clupeoids such as Anchoviella. Adults also prey mainly on fishes with small quantities of crustaceans and squids.
Maturity is reached at around 48–52 cm length or 1–2 years old in southern India, and about 40 cm length in Thailand. Length at 50% maturity is 37.5 (cm) for females. Spawning occurs from April to July in southern India and Sri Lanka and in May in Thailand waters. Fecundity increases with age in the Indian waters, ranging from around 400,000 eggs at age 2 years to over one million eggs at age 4 years. This species may live to be 16 years old and can reach a maximum length of 76 cm length.
The Indo-Pacific King Mackerel is highly commercial and mostly caught by gillnet, midwater trawls, purse seines, bamboo stake traps, set nets and by trolling fisheries in the Indian Ocean, in particular artisanal fleets from India and more recently Indonesia. Also they could be caught with hand-lines and boat seiners in offshore waters.
Fishing peaks in the months of November and December in Eastern Thailand, late Dec and January in the northern part of the Gulf and January to March in its western part.
It is excellent table fare and is primarily caught by sport fishermen trolling with plugs or feathers/jigs, and it is extremely sporting. It's a fairly expensive fish that's considered a delicacy in most places. It is marketed mainly fresh; also dried-salted, smoked and frozen. Small quantities of frozen product are exported to Europe and North America. In addition to being cooked and eaten when fresh, it is also used to make fish pickle, usually eaten as a condiment with rice.