Horse Mackerel

Fact File:

Common Name(s):
Horse Mackerel
or Scad

Scientific Name:
Trachurus trachurus

Usual Size:

UK Record Weights from rod/line:

3-00-14 Cockenzie Scotland  R.Dillon 1981

3-05-03 Torbay Devon  M.A.Atkins 1978

MAFF Minimum Size: Shore: Boat:
NFSA  Shore: 25cm  Boat: 25cm

Compressed streamlined body, with all the lateral line scales or scutes, expanded from the operculum to the tail.This also shows a characteristic kink, starting around the space between the first and second dorsal fins, and resulting in the lateral keel. The first dorsal fin is composed of eight membrane bound spinous fin rays, with the second dorsal fin being formed from 29 to 33 soft rays.The anal fin has two short spines at its anterior, followed by some 24 to 29 soft rays. The long pectoral fin, stretches back to the two spines of the anal fin. The tail fin is deeply forked. The head and eyes are large, and the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw.
Colouration ranges from metallic greyish blue through to green on the back, with silver sides that merge into the white of the belly region. The gill cover has a black spot between the lateral line and the pectoral fin.

Fish mature between 3 to 4 years of age, and spawn from June to August. Young juveniles are often found associated with large pelagic jellyfish, and later into mixed shoals with other fish.

Found in large pelagic shoals, typically down to 100m, although 200m is not unknown. Migrate into UK waters during spring and summer.

Mainly small fish, crustaceans, and squid.

Found throughout UK waters during early summer and autumn.

Additional Notes:

Not really eaten in the UK,although eaten elsewhere esp. in it's southern range in Europe/Mediterranean. Fished commercially for industrial use.

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