Beware of the sharp teeth of all mackerel when handling them, even after they are dead. The eating qualities of these fish can be greatly improved if they are killed immediately by iki jime or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding. A firm knock on the head may be easier to implement to stun the fish first before attempting iki jime.
- Spanish mackerel have a long, streamlined body bluish-grey to bluish-green above, sides silvery, belly whitish.
- Sides with many dark grey vertical bars extending below the lateral line. These lines increase in number as the fish grows, from only 3 or 4 in juveniles to more than 50 in large adults.
- A fast growing species which reaches over 40 cm in the first year. Around 50% of spanish mackerel are mature at 2 years of age at around 80 cm long.
- Male fish are usually smaller than female fish of the same age, seldom exceeding 140cm and 20kg.
- May live for up to 20 years.
- This species is widely distributed throughout the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, as far north as Japan and even into the eastern Mediterranean Sea (via the Suez canal).
- In Australia they can be found offshore and around rocky reefs and headlands along the entire northern coastline and down the east coast of the mainland, even as far south as the north east coast of Tasmania during the summer months.
- In some parts of their range (e.g. inside of Fraser Island in Queensland, and northern NSW) caution must be observed when eating large specimens, which accumulate ciguatoxin, probably due to eating a diet of bottom dwelling algae eating fishes.
Fish Size Common Length:
60-120 cm, maximum size 240 cm and 70 kg