How do our Scomber Japonicus (our KZN mackerel), end up in cans?

How do our Scomber Japonicus (our KZN mackerel), end up in cans?

It’s been a while since I stopped buying tinned fish. It took a great deal to get me to stop. I mean, tinned tuna is off the charts delicious! And sardines! Eish – the basis of so many quick and easy and scrumptious meals! Convenience in a can. And it’s fish! SO good for you…

But not good for anyone else. Or the ocean. Or the tuna. Or the sardines. Just you, or me, in that moment of sheer ignorance and bliss, as we savour the flavour of the oil soaked and smoked tuna. Perfect every time.

We have to pop that bubble.

My folks are away, and so looking after the Umzimkulu Marina, I cleared out one of the chalets. And there it was…a tin of mackerel!

Bowled me over. Now what?! Mackerel are beyond delicious, and so very good for you. But no ways am I opening that can. So I take it, mull it over in my hands, and read the species of mackerel, and how it was caught…

70% Mackerel (Scomber Japonicus) Water, salt. Method of Capture: Trawl.


So, I pop onto Wikipedia and type in Scomber Japonicus, and click on distribution…

“Chub mackerel are widespread in the Indo-Pacific. They are absent from the Indian Ocean except for South Africa from KwaZulu-Natal to Western Cape, and are replaced by the closely related Atlantic chub mackerel in the Atlantic. The chub mackerel is widely distributed, usually found in the northwestern, southeastern, and northeastern Pacific. In the eastern Pacific, it can be found from central Mexico to southeastern Alaska. Chub mackerel are generally found within 20 miles (37 km) off the coast in waters between 50 and 72°F (10 to 22°C). Young mackerel live around sandy beaches or kelp beds, while adults are found in deeper waters in shallow banks to 1000 feet (300 m) deep. Chub mackerel school with other pelagic species, as well such as other types of mackerels and sardines.”

Read all about the Chub Mackerel here…

So these tinned mackerel, could well have come right from our own coast! Trawled?! The most indiscriminate and destructive fishing method.

We will never know, unless someone tells the truth, but here is a possible scenario.

Trawlers are out there trawling, right now. Legal and illegal. Some have their AIS on, some don’t. The Sarah Baardman is out there, working her beat. And the Ruth First (with marine inspectors on board). None the wiser. The mackerel, the same species in my tin, are being caught. They are being processed somewhere. Into cans. And are winding up on the shelves of our very own local supermarkets. A few hundred metres from where you can catch them yourself?!

And the can says…Product of China, on the label?!


It’s what fuels the trawlers.

Please see how to report suspicious activities here…

Trawler Watch 2017 reporting procedure

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.