Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Florida Seafood Products

King Mackerel

King Mackerel

King mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) are commonly called kings, kingfish, cavalla, carite and sierra. They are in the Family Scombridae- marine spiny-finned fishes such as tunas, mackerels and bonitos.

The king mackerel has a streamlined body, with a tapered head, and very small scales that cover the entire body except the pectoral fins. The color is iridescent bluish green on the back, lower sides and belly gray to silver, and the lateral line starts high near the gills and drops sharply below the second dorsal fin. The king mackerel weights range from five to thirty pounds. The maximum size about 75 to 90 pounds, but in the marketplace the average weight is five to 20 pounds.

King mackerel are found in tropical and sub-tropical waters including the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Oceans. They inhabit coastal areas, usually in waters less than 240 feet deep and coral reefs, offshore currents, tide rips and large bays.

King mackerel are schooling fish that migrates from south Florida waters in winter too more northerly waters in the spring. They prefer water temperatures above 68 degrees F. The fish is noted for its remarkable leaps, often clearing the water by 10 feet or more. King mackerel feeds mainly on surface-schooling fish such as, thread herring, sardine, shrimp and squid. They are commercially harvested by hook and line.

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Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing
The Collins Building, Innovation Park
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32310

Martin May
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