If King Mackerel is king, are all the others peasants?
By Rachel Berman
The blue-green color of king mackerel is unique to the adults of this species. This mackerel was caught off the coast of Florida. Credit: delphishing
King mackerel are known to prey upon small schooling fishes like anchovies and menhaden and to have a greater preference than Spanish mackerel for invertebrate prey like crustaceans and squid. In turn, adult tunny, dolphins and several species of shark prey upon mature king mackerel. While these predators enjoy the mackerel, so do many sporting fishermen. Mackerel have been known to jump out of the water and swim far and fast when hooked. The recreational community surrounding king mackerel is enthusiastic about the good fight these fish put up.
The king mackerel commercial fishery has also thrived for many years and although fluctuations in catch have occurred, the population has never been reported as overfished. The Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils manage the mackerel populations as a coastal migratory pelagic (CMP) species. For information on how populations have shifted location over the decades, check out King Mackerel on the Regional Data section of the OceanAdapt site.