What Is Mackerel Fish

Mackerel is actually a term which is used for different species of fish that belong to the Scombridae family, including Cero, Atlantic, King and Spanish mackerel. This deep water fish is also known as lacento or maccarello. Mackerel can be found in Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean Ocean. Although, they are deep water fish but some of them like Spanish mackerel can be found in near the bays as well. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment. This oily fish can be found in different varieties such as Atlantic mackerel (Boston mackerel), Spanish mackerel, King mackerel (kingfish or cavalla), Cero mackerel (cerro or painted mackerel), Pacific mackerel (American, blue or chub mackerel), Pacific Jack mackerel (horse mackerel) and Wahoo (ono).

Mackerel is a slim fish with a cylindrical shape and it has a strong flavor. The slim torpedo-shaped fish is found in deep temperate and tropical waters. These fish are iridescent blue-green above with a silvery underbelly and twenty to thirty near vertical wavy black stripes running across their upper body. It has two widely separated dorsal fins and numerous finlets (small fins) on a dorsal and lateral side of the body. Tail is shaped like fork. The mackerel is known for their oil meat and slim shape. Many of the mackerel’s healthy benefits are derived from its oily meat which contains lots of omega-3 fats.

Mackerel is known as a very healthy fish and regular consumption is very good for overall health. It is famous for the heart health benefits it provides and also, known for making the blood clean and fresh. One should buy mackerel that is firm and bright, gills should be clean and the skin moist with shiny scales. Ideally, this fish should be eaten within couple of days because its skin disintegrates quickly. Mackerel is an important food fish that is consumed worldwide. As an oily fish, it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The flesh of mackerel spoils quickly, particularly in the tropics, and can cause scombroid food poisoning. Accordingly, it should be eaten on the day of capture, unless properly refrigerated or cured.

The upper surface of Mackerel fish is dark steely to greenish blue, often almost blue-black on the head. The body is striped with 23 to 33 (usually 27 to 30) dark transverse bands that run down in an irregular wavy course nearly to the mid-level of the body, below which there is a narrow dark streak running along each side from pectoral to tail fin. The pectorals are black or dusky at the base, the dorsal and caudal are gray or dusky. The jaws and gill covers are silvery. The lower parts of the sides are white with silvery, coppery, or brassy reflections and iridescence; the belly silvery white. But the iridescent colors fade so rapidly after death that a dead fish gives little idea of the brilliance of a living one.

Most of the grown fish are between 14 and 18 inches long; a few reach a length close to 22 inches. Fourteen-inch fish weigh about 1 pound in the spring and about 1¼ pounds in the fall when they are fat; 18-inch fish weigh about 2 to 2½ pounds; a 22-inch mackerel will likely weigh 4 pounds. An unusually large mackerel is taken occasionally; in 1925, for example, the schooner Henrietta brought in one weighing 7½ pounds.