The Atlantic mackerel is by far the most common of the 10 species of the family caught in British waters. It is extremely common in huge shoals migrating towards the coast to feed on small fish and prawns during the summer.
Abundant in cold and temperate shelf areas, it forms large schools near the surface. They overwinter in deeper waters but move closer to shore in spring when water temperatures range between 11 and 14 °C (52 and 57 °F).
It is found in the north-east Atlantic: North Sea (east) and British Isles (west). The North Sea stock decreased dramatically in the 1960s because of direct overfishing.
Male and female Atlantic mackerel grow at about the same rate, reaching a maximum age of about 20 years and a maximum fork length around 47 cm (19 in). Most Atlantic mackerel are sexually mature by the age of three years.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||858 kJ (205 kcal)|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Atlantic mackerel are sought after for food either cooked or as sashimi and consist mostly of red meat with a strong taste desirable to some consumers. The fish is extremely high in vitamin B12 as well as omega 3 (a class of fatty acids) and contains nearly twice as much of the latter per unit weight as salmon. Unlike the King and Spanish species, Northern Atlantic mackerel are very low in mercury, and can be eaten at least twice a week according to EPA guidelines.
Mackerel is an excellent source of phosphatidylserine, as it contains about 480 mg / 100 grams by weight. Phosphatidylserine is under investigation to mitigate symptoms of ADHD and Alzheimer's disease.[by whom?]
A smoked Atlantic mackerel
- "Scomber scombrus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 April 2006.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Scomber scombrus" in FishBase. January 2006 version.
- Atlantic mackerel NOAA FishWatch. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- gma.org - atlantic mackerel information
- Blue Ocean Institute - Atlantic Mackerel fishing and conservation report
- EDF Report on Mackerel - Atlantic Mackerel conservation and contamination report