The blue mackerel, Japanese mackerel, Pacific mackerel, slimy mackerel, or spotted chub mackerel, Scomber australasicus, a fish of the family Scombridae, is found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean from Japan south to Australia and New Zealand, in Eastern Pacific (Hawaii and Socorro Island (Mexico), also in the Indo-West Pacific: the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden, in surface waters down to 200 m (660 ft). In Japanese, it is known as goma saba (胡麻鯖 sesame mackerel). Its length is between 30 and 65 cm (12 and 25 in), and weight over a kilogram (2 lbs).
Although at times flighty and difficult to catch particularly when in estuaries and harbours, the Blue mackerel is known as a voracious and indiscriminate feeder, they will devour microscopic plankton and krill, live anchovy, engulf dead cut bait, and strike readily on lures and other flies. When schooled and in a feeding frenzy, they will strike at non-food items such as cigarette butts and even bare hooks. While relatively small in size, pound for pound mackerel score high for their fighting ability. The Pacific Blue mackerel whilst easy to fillet and skin can be difficult to debone and care must be taken not to damage the soft flesh, as a result it is known to be finicky to clean, dress, and prepare for consumption. In light of this simply taking fillets from the body and cooking with the skin and small bones on can be the best method for making them into a very tasty meal.
While Mackerel are often used as sushi "Saba", they are a strong tasting meat which is best for consumption if smoked, barbecued, or boiled.
- "Scomber australasicus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 April 2006.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Scomber australasicus" in FishBase. March 2006 version.
- Fitch JE (1956) "Pacific mackerel" CalCOFI Reports, 5 29–32.
- Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8
- California Department of Fish & Game, "California Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book" (University of California Press 2007)ISBN 0-9722291-1-6