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seafood encyclopedia

Pacific Mackerel


  • Scientific Name: Scomber japonicus
  • US Market Name(s): Mackerel, Chub
  • Canada Market Name(s): Pacific Mackerel, Chub Mackerel

Culinary Profile

Mackerel flesh offers a high oil content and a strong, distinct flavour. When raw – flesh is firm and brownish. When cooked - flesh becomes a creamy white colour


Mackerel is a common name applied to many species of fish - including the Atka Mackerel, Atlantic Mackerel, Pacific Mackerel and others. Atka Mackerel are members of the Hexagrammidae family – where as Atlantic and Pacific Mackerel are members of the Scrombidae family. Pacific Mackerel and Atlantic Mackerel are the two species caught commercially in the largest quantities. Both fish are known for their greenish blue backs, elongated round body and lack of scales. The Pacific Mackerel can be easily distinguished from its Atlantic counterpart by small dusky blotches below the midline. Pacific Mackerel are generally a bit smaller than Atlantic Mackerel.


Pacific Mackerel are pelagic and travel in schools. This species ranges from Chile to Alaska - as well as in the Atlantic Ocean - where they are referred to as Chub Mackerel. Pacific Mackerel are most abundant off the coast of California and US commercial fisheries target Pacific Mackerel almost exclusively in this state.

Fishing Season

Sustainability Status

Mackerel are fast-growing fish and are therefore resilient to fishing pressure. Pelagic and mid-water trawls used to catch Mackerel have low bycatch rates and do not damage the seafloor. Pacific Mackerel were overfished in the 1960s and 1970s. Stocks have now recovered to healthy levels and no overfishing is occurring.

Fishy Fact: In the 19th century - Mackerel and salted Mackerel were popular food items in Europe and New England? Canned Mackerel introduced in the last quarter of the century - quickly became today’s preferred product form.


Available as Value Added, Commodity, Custom Packing.