King, Spanish mackerel supplies bountiful
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
12 February, 2009 -
King and Spanish mackerel populations in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico are healthy, and quotas are expected to remain the same in the 2007-08 fishing year, says an official with the National Marine Fisheries Service in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The king mackerel fishery is divided into six quotas totaling nearly 7 million pounds, while the Spanish mackerel quota is split into two quotas totaling about 9 million pounds. In mid-January 2007, several mackerel fisheries remained open, and the gillnet king mackerel fishery off southwestern Florida is currently a “hotbed,” notes the official.
However, NMFS in early December moved king mackerel’s “control date” from Oct. 16 to June 15, allowing the agency to limit participation in the fishery four months earlier than usual to prevent overcapitalization. But that shouldn’t affect king mackerel supplies.
As juveniles, king and Spanish mackerel look similar. But kings grow to about 6 feet and 100 pounds and develop tiger-like stripes, while Spanish mackerel reach only about 3 feet and 15 pounds and retain their yellow spots.
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