Butterfly Mackerel

Butterfly mackerel
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit5


possession limit10


boat limit-

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Other names

butterfly kingfish, big-scale mackerel, butterfly tuna, scaly tuna

Scientific name

Gasterochisma melampus

Grows to

Up to


Identifying features

​This large and striking fish has a silvery body with blue colouring on the back. It has large scales, a large mouth and a scaleless head. It is related to the tunas which shows in the body shape and preference for oceanic water. The juveniles have very distinctive large pelvic fins longer than the length of the head hence the name butterfly mackerel.


Offshore waters.

Fishing information

Butterfly mackerel are not commonly encountered by recreational fishers due to their preference for oceanic waters, well offshore. They are sometimes hooked while fishing for tuna or broadbill swordfish taking either lures or fish baits.


If releasing, minimise the time the fish is out of the water and handle with wet hands or cloth. Don’t use a gaff.


Excellent eating with a pale creamy coloured firm flesh with few bones. The scales are imbedded into their tough skin so it is preferable to skin the fillets. Shave off the scales with a sharp knife starting in a tail to head direction rather than any other method of descaling.


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

What to report? arrow button

Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au