Reproductive Biology

In the western North Atlantic, spawning takes place from Chesapeake Bay to Newfoundland, beginning in the south in spring and progressively extending northward into the summer. Most spawning occurs within 10-30 mi (16-48 km) of shore. Mackerel do not begin spawning until the water has warmed to approximately 46.4°F (8°C). The chief production of eggs takes place at temperatures of 48.2-57.2°F (9-14°C). Maturity is attained at 2-3 years of age. Estimates of fecundity range from 285,000 to 1.98 million eggs for females 12-17 in (307-438 mm) fork length. The eggs are 0.04-0.05 in (1.09-1.39 mm) in diameter, have one oil globule, and generally float in the surface water layer above the thermocline.

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