Grey Mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus (Macleay 1883)

Other Names: Broadbanded Mackerel, Broad-banded Spanish Mackerel, Broadbarred King Mackerel, Broad-barred Mackerel, Broad-barred Spaniard Mackerel, Broad-barred Spanish Mackerel, Brownie, Grey Spanish Mackerel, School Mackerel, Striped Mackerel, Striped School Mackerel, Tiger Mackerel

Grey Mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial


A dark bluish-grey to iridescent bluish-green mackeral, becoming silvery white on the sides and below. Juveniles, less than 10 cm in length have up to 20 distinct vertical bands above the lateral line, that fade or break up into spots with growth. Individuals longer than 70 cm show little or no markings.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2018, Scomberomorus semifasciatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Grey Mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus (Macleay 1883)

More Info


Shark Bay, WA (25°20'S), to northern NSW, and southern Papua New Guinea. Inhabits coastal reefs, rocky headlands, and offshore waters.


Dorsal fin XIII-XV, 19-22 + 8-10 finlets; Anal fin 19-22 + 7-10 finlets; Pectoral fin 22-25; Vertebrae 44-46; Gill rakers 6-13.

Body elongate; strongly compressed; jaws with a single series of 5-38 sharp triangular teeth. Dorsal fins separated by a narrow space. Body covered in small scales, anterior corselet absent. A single lateral line gradually curving down toward caudal peduncle. Caudal peduncle with well-developed keel, flanked on each side by a smaller keel. Swim bladder absent.


To at least 120 cm and 10 kg.


Dark blue-grey to iridescent blue-green dorsally, sides silvery to white. Juveniles, less than 10 cm with 1-20 distinct vertical bands above the lateral line. Bands fade or break up into spots with growth; individuals greater than 70 cm show little or no markings.


A largely pelagic predators, feeding exclusively on baitfishes such as anchovies and sardines.


Grey mackerel spawn throughout their range in northern Australia between September and January. Females attain sexual maturity between 651 and 700 mm and males between 551 and 600 mm LCF (caudal fork length). Schools of juveniles (4.5-10 cm) occur off Townsville beaches in November, and juveniles double in size between November and January.


Although not targeted commercially, this species is taken as bycatch in the Spanish Mackerel fishery, with a fluctuating annual catch of a few tonnes. Although not commonly caught, recreational fishers take this species while trolling lures. The flesh is similar to that of the Spanish Mackerel.

Size, take and possession limits apply to Grey Mackerel in Queensland tidal waters. Recreational anglers are permitted to take and possess up to five of a minimum legal size of 60 cm. 


  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Etymology

    The specific name semifasciatus is from Latin, meaning "half-striped", in reference to the dark grey bars on the upper half of the body.

    Species Citation

    Cybium semifasciatum Macleay 1883, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 8(2): 205. Type locality: Lower Burdekin River, Queensland, Australia.


    Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2018


    Australian Faunal Directory

    Grey Mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus (Macleay 1883)


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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37441018

    Depth:0-200 m

    Feeding:Reports of ciguatera poisoning

    Fishing:IUCN Least Concern

    Fishing:Recreational/commercial bycatch

    Max Size:120 cm FL; 10 kg

    Max Size:Pelagic

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