KingfishScomberomorus commerson

  • Open Ocean
  • Fish
  • Wahoo
  • Near threatened species


The Kingfish is also known as the narrow barred Spanish mackerel. It is native to Mauritius as well as other countries and can commonly be found anywhere in the Indo-West Pacific region. It is a resident of the open ocean and can be seen in shallow coastal waters to deeper regions of the oceans. It has 15-18 spines present on the first dorsal fin; 15 to 20 rays on its second dorsal fin, followed by 8 to 10 finlets. It is of silvery grey colour on the sides with occasional dark grey wavy lines; juveniles have about 20 of these while adults have up to 50. The first dorsal fin is dark blue, and its pectoral fin is light grey deepening into a dark blue/black colour. The remaining fins are greyish white, and all deepen into blue black colours[1]. Maturity is attained after two years.


[1] ‘FAO Fisheries & Aquaculture - Species Fact Sheets - Scomberomorus Commerson (Lacepède, 1800)’.

Habitat and ecology

The Scomberomorus commerson can be found in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from shallow coastal waters of low salinity and high turbidity through to drops offs, sloping reefs as well as lagoons. This species is known to undertake long migrations, but permanent populations have also been recorded in some areas. It hunts on its own, feeding mostly on small fish such as anchovies, as well as squid and penaeid shrimps. Although being a solitary hunter, it can be found in small group.


Conservation and management

Stock assessments in certain areas of the Indian Ocean have concluded that this species is exploited beyond permitted thresholds. Declines in biomass have been reported over the last few decades but a complete assessment of the overall abundance of this species is lacking. It is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ in the IUCN Red list of threatened species and the population trend is decreasing. The biggest threat is commercial fishing by a variety of methods including seine haul; it is also caught as by catch. Aside from size restrictions and bag limits in Australia, no other conservation efforts are in place for this species.


Did you know?

This species can live up to 22 years old[1].


[1] IUCN, ‘Scomberomorus Commerson’.