Mackerel parasites

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Stoney Mike
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Mackerel parasites

Post by Stoney Mike » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:04 am

Hi all,

I stopped off for a fish on the way back from a paddle down the coast yesterday evening and just as I was about to give up felt a tug on the line. As I started to reel it in, there wasn't much fight so I assumed it'd be a small mackerel. As it reached the surface I was surprised to find it was a reasonable size, around 30cm or so, but still not flapping around much. When I got it on my spreydeck I noticed quite a few wee critters crawling over its body. They were about a cm long and wriggled a bit like a worm, but seemed to have forked tails a bit like an earwig, and a slightly bulbous head end from what I could tell. I decided I could probably just wash them off so clobbered the mackerel on the head and stuck it in may deck bag and headed in.

Back on the beach I took the mackerel out to gut it and was a bit ashamed to see it was still quivering around a lot (pretty sure it had stopped moving when I first hit it). I clobbered it a few more times, but it was still quivering away, just nerves I guess (the head was pretty bashed in by now), but I've never seen a mackerel flap around that much when dead before.

I gave it a good inspection before cooking it, and couldn't see any obvious sign of parasites or disease, not that I'm an expert on that by any stretch. It tasted pretty good, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a well fish. Does anyone know what the critters were or seen them before? Is it best to avoid eating if you see them (a bit late for that now!)?

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dorsetyeti
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Re: Mackerel parasites

Post by dorsetyeti » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:29 am

Not sure about the parasites, I wouldn't have though they would you any harm though, especially if you had gutted and cleaned it.
In my experience the best way to dispatch a fish is to put your fore finger in its mouth with your thumb on the back of its head and pull its head back snapping it's neck, quick, easy and relatively painless for the fish. It's not so easy. On bigger fish like bass but then a knife inserted at the back of the head does the same thing.
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Stoney Mike
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Re: Mackerel parasites

Post by Stoney Mike » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:54 am

Thanks for that dorsetyeti. There's no danger of them biting you finger then?

Mrstratos61
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Re: Mackerel parasites

Post by Mrstratos61 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:55 pm

Sounds like sea lice

AGNorwich
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Re: Mackerel parasites

Post by AGNorwich » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:11 pm

The forked tail certainly makes them sound like fish lice, scientific name Argulus. They are a major problem on marine salmon farms, but do not parasitise humans (although there are occasional reports of them trying a little nibble.

Typing "Argulus" into Google images gives a range of pictures, such as http://www.mugga.se/photo/726/argulus_foliaceus and http://www.marinespecies.org/photogalle ... album=4301.

AG

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Re: Mackerel parasites

Post by Stoney Mike » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Thanks guys, I'm pretty sure they were sea lice. They didn't look like the pictures in AGNorwich's links, but they did look a lot like this
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=sea+l ... VcBDv6ScnM:

AGNorwich
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Re: Mackerel parasites

Post by AGNorwich » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:39 pm

OK - so Lepeophtheirus or Caligus rather than Argulus. I misinterpreted "forked tail"

AG

jackp
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Re: Mackerel parasites

Post by jackp » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:28 pm

I think the worms in question are harmless when the fish is cooked or so I've been told.I bought a fresh pollack once direct from fishermen and had the worms inside.i was told they usually die when the fish are put on ice .Anyway I was about to cook the fillets left them in pan for few minutes came back and there was big worms trying to escape .even though I was told these was harmless I couldn't bring myself to eat it .the cat done oright that day lol

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