The king mackerel is a silverfish with indistinct bars or spots on its side. The dorsal surface is black with iridescent tones of blue and green. Young fish have small bronze spots in 5 or 6 irregular rows. King Mackerel can grow up to 72.4 inches (184 cm) and 99 pounds (45 kg).
King mackerels are ovoviviparous, meaning that eggs develop and hatch in the mother's body. They are broadcast spawners; each female spawns countless tiny eggs into the water after which they sink. The male king mackerel then leave their newly fertilized eggs floating at the surface of the water where they adhere to vegetation or other objects.
King mackerels reach sexual maturity at two years of age and every year thereafter. They spawn in warm winter and spring months with most activity occurring in March. Spawning is preceded by a courtship ritual where one or more males follow a female while quivering and biting at her fins. A trout-like, vertical cut then appears on the lower part of the female's body. The eggs are released within 10 to 15 seconds after this cutting is completed and fertilized by the males.
The eggs hatch in about 8 days after being laid, with newly hatched young drifting downstream into estuaries or inshore waters. At a very early stage of development, these young fish develop a distinctive spotted pattern that gives them the name "spotted sea trout."
The young fish grow rapidly and by the time they are one year old, they have reached about 13 inches (33 cm) in length. At this point, king mackerel begin to migrate inshore as the water warms with the onset of summer.
King Mackerels are ovoviviparous, meaning that eggs develop and hatch in the mother's body. They are broadcast spawners; each female spawns countless tiny eggs into the water after which they sink. The male king mackerel then leave their newly fertilized eggs floating at the surface of the water where they adhere to vegetation or other objects.
Although king mackerel is important in some areas as a game fish and commercial food fish, it has been implicated in cases of ciguatera poisoning. It can be prepared in a variety of ways including grilling, baking, and frying. Kingfish steaks can be grilled and served with a variety of sauces.
Global king mackerel production
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global production of king mackerel in 2016 was 1,032,956 tonnes. The majority of this production came from commercial fisheries, with China, India, Taiwan, and Vietnam being the top producers. Recreational fishing for king mackerel is also popular in many parts of the world, particularly in North America. In the United States, king mackerel are commonly caught off the coasts of Florida and North Carolina.
King mackerel are a highly sought-after fish species due to their delicious flesh. The flesh of king mackerel is firm and pinkish-white in color, with a large flake and a mild flavor. The fish can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilled, baked, broiled, and smoked. King mackerel are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
King mackerel are also an important commercial fish species. Their flesh is used for human consumption, as well as for fishmeal and oil. In some parts of the world, king mackerel are also considered a valuable game fish species.
The global production of king mackerel has remained relatively stable in recent years. However, there has been a slight increase in production in recent years, due to an increase in demand from Asian markets.