Atlantic Mackerel

Atlantic Mackerel
Common Name Atlantic Mackerel
Market Name common mackerel, Boston mackerel
Scientific name Scomber scombrus

Sourcing Summary

Size

1-2 lbs.

Although it’s available year-round, some buyers recommend buying Atlantic mackerel in the fall from the trap fisheries off New England because this fish has high oil content after a summer of feeding. Atlantic mackerel is sold fresh, frozen, smoked or salted whole, in fillets, headed and gutted, and as steaks. This fish's flesh is firm, has a high oil content, and a strong savory taste. Mackerel are an excellent substitution for other fish with high oil content such as salmon, tuna, or bluefish, and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Like tuna, mackerel must be handled properly because lack of ice or refrigeration can lead to a higher risk of scromboid poisoning.


Product Forms

Fresh/Frozen
Fresh
Product Forms
Fillet
H&G
Whole
Fresh/Frozen
Frozen
Product Forms
Fillet
H&G
Whole

Fresh Seasonal Availability

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
nononononononoyesyesyesnono

Culinary Composition

Strong

Flavor

Firm

Texture

High

Oil

Cooking Methods

Health/Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 205
Total Fat 13.89g
Cholesterol 70mg
Sodium 90mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 18.6

Science & Management

Conservation Criteria - Wild

Impact on Stock

Atlantic mackerel is a fast-growing fish that’s also highly migratory, helping it withstand fishing pressure.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service reports that Atlantic mackerel are at 257% above the target level. However, it has been reported that while they’re not being overfished, Atlantic mackerel in Europe are being harvested outside of safe biological limits.

Habitat impacts (Wild)

Most Atlantic mackerel is caught between Maine and New Jersey using purse seines or trawl nets, according to the New England Aquarium. Purse seines allow for a targeted catch because fishermen can easily locate and identify the fish they’re seeking. Pelagic and mid-water trawl nets are less impactful on the marine environment than bottom trawl nets, significantly reducing habitat destruction, according to the NEA.

Bycatch

The extent of marine mammal bycatch in the Atlantic mackerel fishery is unclear. Bycatch from purse seining and trawling has not been a major issue. The National Marine Fisheries Service notes that while the Atlantic mackerel fishery has minimal interaction with sea turtles, interactions with other marine mammals have been recorded. It has been reported that mortalities and injuries of marine mammals in the Atlantic mackerel fishery exceeded 50% of the potential biological removal of the species. Observers reported dolphin mortalities in the fishery between 1977 and 1991, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium cautions that observer coverage in the fishery is low. Mammal bycatch has been declining, in part due to a shift away from bottom otter trawls, but remains a moderate concern, according to a Monterey Bay Aquarium report from 2011. Atlantic mackerel’s midwater trawl fisheries catch nontargeted fish such as river herring, dogfish, and shortfin squid, but the level of this bycatch is considered small and causes little concern.

Management effectiveness

Atlantic mackerel stocks in the U.S. collapsed in the late 1970s due to overfishing that began occurring in the late 1960s, but effective management helped them recover to abundant, very healthy levels. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council currently does not have a bycatch management plan for the Atlantic mackerel fishery but is working on one.

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Fishing Methods  
Atlantic Ocean - Northeast (MSC) Pole  
Atlantic Ocean - Northeast (MSC) Handline  
Atlantic Ocean - Northeast (MSC) Midwater Trawl  
Atlantic Ocean - Northeast (MSC) Purse Seine  
Canada Purse Seine  
Faroe Islands (MSC) Purse Seine  
Iceland (MSC) Handline  
Iceland (MSC) Pelagic Trawl  
Iceland (MSC) Purse Seine  
Iceland (MSC) Bottom Trawl  
Ireland (MSC) Midwater Trawl  
USA Purse Seine    
USA Trawl    
USA Gillnet    
Name Country State / Province
Albion Farms & Fisheries Canada British Columbia
Barry Group, Inc. Canada Newfoundland and Labrador
Beyond the Sea Sales and Marketing, Inc. United States Massachusetts
City Fish Canada Alberta
Fisherman's Market International Inc. Canada Nova Scotia
Halperns' Purveyors of Steak and Seafood United States Georgia
J.J. McDonnell United States Maryland
McRoberts Sales Co., Inc. United States Florida
Northeast Oceans United States Massachusetts
Red's Best United States Massachusetts
Royal Hawaiian Seafood United States California
Sea to Table, USA United States New York
Seacore Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Seafreeze Ltd. United States Rhode Island
Seattle Fish Company United States Colorado
Seattle Fish Company - Kansas City United States Missouri
Sizzlefish United States North Carolina
Steve Connolly Seafood Company Inc. United States Massachusetts
The Fish Guys Inc. United States Minnesota
Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics United States Washington
Wild Fish Direct LLC United States Florida
Wixter Market United States Illinois