Serra Spanish Mackerel fish identification, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
The Serra Spanish mackerel is a species of fish in the family Scombridae is an important fishery resource of the Atlantic Ocean and is a major component of artisanal fisheries in northern and northeastern Brazil, one of the most important commercial fisheries in Trinidad. They found in the western Atlantic, along the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts of Central and South America. It feeds on small fish, squids/cuttlefish, shrimps/prawns, and isopods. Species can grow up to 125 cm in length, and weight up to 6.7 kg.
The Serra Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus brasiliensis, is a species of fish in the family Scombridae, also known as Thazard tacheté du sud in French, Serra in Spanish, ‘carite’ in Trinidad. This species is found in the western North Atlantic along the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts of Central and South America from Yucatán and Belize to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
The Serra Spanish mackerel have very elongated strongly compressed body and a pointed head. Snout is much shorter than rest of the head. Mouth widely split and provided with small teeth. Posterior part of maxilla exposed, reaching to a vertical from hind margin of eye. Two scarcely separated dorsal fins, the first with 17 or 18 spines, rarely 19, the second dorsal with 15 to 19 rays, usually 17 or 18, followed by 8 to 10 finlets; anal fin with 16 to 20 rays, usually 17 to 19, followed by 7 to 10 finlets, usually 9; 2 flaps (interpelvic processes) between pelvic fins are short and bifid.
Pelvic fins are relatively short, 3.6 to 5.9% of fork length. Intestine is with 2 folds and 3 limbs. Gill rakers 11 to 16 (usually 13 to 15) on first arch moderate: 1 or 3 on upper limb; 9 to 13 on lower limb. Swim bladder is absent. Lateral line is gradually curving down toward to midline on caudal peduncle. It has the tuna tail, one end of caudal peduncle with a keel and two lateral ridges. Body entirely covered with small scales, no anterior corselet developed, pectoral fins without scales, except at bases. Vertebrae 47 to 49, usually 48: 19 to 21 precaudal plus 27 to 29 caudal.
Distinguishing characteristics: Body elongate, strongly compressed. Snout much shorter than rest of head; posterior part of maxilla exposed, reaching to a vertical from hind margin of eye. Lateral line is gradually curving down toward caudal peduncle. Body entirely covered with small scales, no corselet developed; pectoral fins without scales, except at bases. Blue back and silvery sides with several rows of round yellowish bronze spots. First dorsal fin is black.
17-19 Dorsal spines with 15-19 soft rays
2 Anal spines with 16-20 soft rays
47-49, usually 48 Vertebrae
21 to 24, usually 22 or 23 Pectoral fin rays
11-16 (usually 13-15) gill rakers.
Max. Length 125 cm common 65 cm.
Max. Weight up to 6.7 kg
Their back is iridescent bluish green; sides are silvery with several rows of round yellowish to bronze spots. The number of spots increasing with size from about 30 at 20 cm fork length to between 45 and 60 at lengths from 50 to 60 cm; no streaks on body. Anterior third (first 7 spines) of first dorsal fin and along upper edge of posterior portion is black, basal portion of posterior membranes white; pectoral fin dusky; pelvic and anal fins light.
The Serra Spanish mackerel is an epipelagic, neritic tropical species, found up to 130 m depths, most commonly found on a depth range from 2060 m. It concentrates on coastal areas, and is common on rocky coasts, open beaches and islands with soft clean sand, muddy or muddy-sand bottom. It does not migrate extensively, although some seasonal movement appears to occur off Trinidad. It tends to form schools and enters tidal estuaries.
It feeds largely on small fishes, with smaller quantities of penaeid shrimps such as the tiger prawn, whiteleg shrimp and Atlantic white shrimp and loliginid cephalopods, squids.
The Serra Spanish mackerel maturate later during the rainy season, with a peak of reproduction from March to June in Brazil. The reproduction takes place on the dry season, from June to November. In the Gulf of Paria, spawning, although occurring throughout the year, peaks from October to April followed by a post-spawning feeding migration away from Venezuelan waters towards Trinidad, where the species is most abundant from May to September. On the Guyana shelf, ripe fish are encountered in September. Off northeastern Brazil, some spawning takes place offshore beyond the mayor fishing grounds throughout the year, but the main season extends from July to September.
Females became mature at length from 28 to 41 cm and age 3 years old, males from 34.5 to 44 cm and at age 4 correspondingly. Males are more abundant than females with a sex ratio of 4:1. This species spawns over the continental shelf, approximately between 15 and 36 m of depth. Females can release between 0.5 and 1.5 million eggs. Larvae grow fast and reach length 12 inches after first year. This species may live up to 13 years, reaching 1 m of total length.
This species is fished throughout northern and northeastern Brazil by gillnets, hand-line and beach-seine fisheries with purse seines and on line gear. Also a sportsfish taken by trolling feathers or pork rind or by casting fly and spinning lures into surface schools. Juveniles up to two years old are often caught in small meshed nets for sardine. This species is also caught as bycatch.
Marketed mostly fresh, some is salted; the flesh is highly appreciated.