skip to main content | skip to footer
North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - nr-37-2017 Mackerel

Marine Fisheries

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Release: Immediate
Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: June 15, 2017
Phone: 252-726-7021

State urges fishermen to learn the difference between
king mackerel and Spanish mackerel

8-point rule

 


MOREHEAD CITY —
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is asking anglers to make sure they know how to distinguish between king mackerel and Spanish mackerel before keeping one of the fish.

Confusing these two fish is problematic because the size limit on king mackerel is twice the length of the size limit for Spanish mackerel, and the bag limit for Spanish mackerel is five times higher than the bag limit for the kings.

Anglers who get them mixed up may be forced to pay up to $255 in fines and court costs. To avoid getting a ticket, anglers need to learn to tell the difference between the two fish.

Adult Spanish mackerel and juvenile king mackerel can look a lot alike. Both are long, slender fish with a forked tail and bronze-colored spots on the body. But the Spanish mackerel features a black spot on the first dorsal fin that the king mackerel lacks.

Also, the king mackerel has a pronounced dip in the lateral line below the second dorsal fin. The line on the Spanish mackerel gently curves to the tail.

A color graphic showing the difference can be downloaded here.

The size limit for king mackerel is 24 inches fork length (from the tip of the snout to the fork in the tail). Recreational fishermen may keep three fish per person, per day.

The size limit for Spanish mackerel is 12 inches fork length, and recreational fishermen may keep 15 fish per person, per day.

nr-37-2017

Web Content Display Web Content Display
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

NC logo

38337 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.