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Species Guide

Name:  Mackerel Fish

Colors   Blue-green above with a silvery underbelly

Shapes 12 to 22 inches in length, slim and cylindrical shaped oily fish

Flesh colors        Red color outer meat and light color inner meat.

Calories                231 Kcal./cup

Major nutrients                Vitamin B-12 ()696.67%

Selenium (82.55%)

Isoleucine (57.83%)

Lysine (57.63%)

Tryptophan (53.41%)

Health benefits Prevents heart disease, Lowers risk of diabetes, Immunity, Controls blood pressure levels, Reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, Help Prevent Cancer, Lose weight, Lower Cholesterol, Improves cognitive function, Increases survival chance of bowel cancer patients

More facts about 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.

Types of Mackerel Fish

Different varieties of Mackerel fish are mentioned below

1. Atlantic horse mackerel

Atlantic horse mackerelThe Atlantic horse mackerel is a species of jack mackerel in the family Carangidae. It gets its common name from the legend that other smaller species of fish could ride on its back over great distances. Other common names include European horse mackerel (in the U.S.), common scad, scad, and saurel.

2. Wahoo Mackerel

Wahoo MackerelWahoo is a scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. It is best known to sports fishermen, as its speed and high-quality flesh make it a prize game fish. In Hawaii, the wahoo is known as ono. Many Hispanic areas of the Caribbean and Central America refer to this fish as peto.

3. King mackerel

King mackerelThe king mackerel or kingfish is a migratory species of mackerel of the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. It is an important species to both the commercial and recreational fishing industries.

4. Cero or Painted mackerel

Cero or Painted mackerelThe cero, also known as the pintado, kingfish, cero mackerel, or painted mackerel, is a ray-finned bony fish in the family Scombridae, better known as the mackerel family. More specifically, this fish is a member of the tribe Scomberomorini, the Spanish mackerels, and is the type species of the genus Scomberomorus. It is similar in appearance and coloration to the Atlantic Spanish mackerel, except the cero has a longitudinal stripe in addition to the spots of the Atlantic Spanish mackerel

5. Atlantic mackerel

Atlantic mackerelThe Atlantic mackerel is a pelagic schooling species of mackerel found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. The species is also called Boston mackerel, Norwegian mackerel, Scottish mackerel, or just mackerel.

6. Blue or chub mackerel

 Blue or chub mackerelThe blue mackerel, Japanese mackerel, Pacific mackerel, slimy mackerel, or spotted chub mackerel is a fish of the family Scombridae, found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean from Japan south to Australia and New Zealand, in the eastern Pacific (Hawaii and Socorro Island, Mexico), and 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.). Its length is between 30 and 65 cm (12 and 25.5 in), and weighs a little over 1 kilogram (2.2 lb.).

7. Spanish mackerel

Spanish mackerelScomberomorini is a tribe of ray-finned saltwater bony fishes that is commonly known as the Spanish mackerels or seerfishes. This tribe is a subset of the mackerel family (Scombridae) – a family that it shares with three sister tribes, the tunas

, mackerels, and bonitos, and the butterfly kingfish. Scomberomorini comprises 21 species across three genera.

8. Pacific Jack mackerel

Pacific Jack mackerelThe Pacific jack mackerel (also known as the Californian jack mackerel or simply jack mackerel), is an abundant species of pelagic marine fish in the jack family, Carangidae. The species is distributed along the western coast of North America, ranging from Alaska in the north to the Gulf of California in the south, inhabiting both offshore and inshore environments. The Pacific jack mackerel is a moderately large fish, growing to a maximum recorded length of 81 cm, although commonly seen below 55 cm.

9. Chub mackerel

Chub mackerelThe chub mackerel, Pacific mackerel, or Pacific chub mackerel is a mackerel which closely resembles the Atlantic chub mackerel.

10. Indian mackerel

Indian mackerelThe Indian mackerel is a species of mackerel in the scombrid family (family Scombridae) of order Perciformes. It is commonly found in the Indian and West Pacific oceans, and their surrounding seas. It is an important food fish and is commonly used in South and South-East Asian cuisine.

11. Pacific sierra

The Pacific sierra also known as the Mexican sierra, is a ray-finned bony fish in the family Scombridae, better known as the mackerel family. More specifically, this fish is a member of the tribe Scomberomorini, the Spanish mackerels.

12. Short mackerel

Short mackerelThe short mackerel or shortbodied mackerel is a species of mackerel in the family Scombridae. Its habitat is the shallow waters of Southeast Asia and Melanesia, feeding mainly on small zooplankton. It is of major importance in the fisheries industry.

13. Spotted mackerel

Spotted mackerelThe Australian spotted mackerel is a species of fish in the family Scombridae. Common fork length ranges between 50 to 80 cm. Specimens have been recorded at up to 104 cm in length, and weighing up to 10.2 kg. It is found in the western Pacific, along the northern coast of Australia, from the Abrolhos Islands region of Western Australia to Coffs Harbour and Kempsey in central New South Wales.

Nutritional value

Apart from their mild taste and strong flavor, mackerel fish is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 88 gram of mackerel fish offers 16.72 µg of Vitamin B-12, 45.4 µg of Selenium, 15.67 g of Total Fat, 20.99 g of Protein, 6.028 mg of Vitamin B3, 245 mg of Phosphorus, 0.405 mg of Vitamin B6, 0.363 mg of Vitamin B2 and 85 mg of Magnesium. Moreover many Amino acids 0.235 g of Tryptophan, 0.92 g of Threonine, 0.967 g of Isoleucine, 1.705 g of Leucine, 1.927 g of Lysine, 0.621 g of Methionine and 0.225 g of Cystine are also found in 88 gram of mackerel fish.

***Indian Mackerel Fish

The Indian Mackerel fish is a species of mackerel which is mainly found in the Indian and West Pacific oceans, and their surrounding seas. It is very important as food fish, and is commonly used in South and South-East Asian cuisine. It is also known by many other different names such as Kembung, Bangda, Aiyla, Aiyla Meen, Bangude etc.

Currently the Indian Mackerel fish is widespread in the Indo-West Pacific from South Africa, Seychelles and Red Sea east through Indonesia and off northern Australia to Melanesia, Micronesia, Samoa, China and the Ryukyu Islands. And the fish is also found in the Mediterranean Sea. It has entered to the eastern Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal. However, read some more information about this fish species below.


The Indian Mackerel fish has moderately deep body. The head is longer than the body depth. The maxilla are partly concealed, covered by the lacrimal bone (but extend till around the hind margin of the eye). They have thin dark longtitudinal bands on the upper part of their body, which may be golden on fresh specimens. And there is also a black spot on the body near the lower margin of the pectoral fin. Their caudal and pectoral fins are yellowish, and the dorsal fins are yellowish with black tips. And the remaining fins of the Indian Mackerel fish are dusky.

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Average body length of the Indian Mackerel fish is around 25 cm. But they can reach a maximum of 35 cm total body length. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The juveniles feed on phytoplankton and small zooplankton such as larval polychaetes, ostracods, cladocerans etc. But the mature fish generally feed on macroplankton including the larvae of fish and shrimp.


Spawning season of the Indian Mackerel fish is between March and September in the northern hemisphere. But it is between September and the following March around Seychelles in the southern hemisphere. Spawning of these fish generally occurs in batches. The females lay eggs, and the eggs are fertilized externally. The egg are left to develop on their own, and the eggs are not guarded by the males or females.


The Indian Mackerel fish is mainly used for food, for daily meal in Thai land

Special Notes

The Indian Mackerel fish are generally found in the shallow, coastal waters, where the surface water temperature is at least 17 °C. The mature fish are generally found in the coastal bays, harbours and in the deep lagoons. They are also generally found in the turbid waters rich in plankton. It is also widely found in Karnataka costal belt, and is a very popular food fish in Kudla. Currently the fish is used mainly for food. It is marketed fresh, frozen, canned, dried-salted and also made into fish sauce. However, review full breed profile of the Indian Mackerel fish in the table below.

Indian Mackerel Fish | Breed Profile

Name    Indian Mackerel

Kingdom              Animalia

Phylum Chordata

Class      Actinopterygii

Order    Perciformes

Family   Scombridae

Genus   Rastrelliger

Species R. kanagurta

Binomial Name Rastrelliger kanagurta

Other Names     Also known as Kembung, Bangda, Aiyla, Aiyla Meen, Bangude etc.

Breed Purpose  Mainly food

Special Notes     Commercially important fish species, mainly used for food, marketed fresh, frozen, canned, dried-salted and also made into fish sauce

Breeding Method            Natural

Climate Tolerance            Native climates

Body Color          Narrow dark longitudinal bands on upper part of body and a black spot on body near lower margin of pectoral fin; dorsal fins yellowish with black tips, caudal and pectoral fins yellowish; other fins dusky

Rarity    Common

Availability          : North of Viet Nam