Scomber scombrus

Size: Maximum size: 66 cm and 3,5 kg. Seldom more than 40 cm and 0,7 kg.


Biology: The mackerel is a fast and muscular swimmer. It lives pelagic and gathers in large shoals. During the summer this shoals can be found from Morocco in the south to Finnmark (Norway) in north. The mackerel has no swimming bladder, and the gills need a constant flow of seawater to provide enough oxygen. This forces the mackerel to swim constantly, or else it would sink and die of suffocation.

In Europe the total stock is divided into three "components". One is located west of Great Britain, the second is in the North Sea and Skagerrak, and the third is found west of Portugal. These three parts of the stock mixes in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea during the summer and autumn. The mackerel is then swimming close to the surface eating krill, young herring and sprat. In January the mackerel returns to its spawning grounds. It spawns in March April. The mackerel in the North Sea spawns later (May June). Most mackerels spawns for the first time when they are three years old.


The mackerel prefers temperatures higher than 10o C in the summer. In the winter it avoid water colder than 5-6 o C. A mackerel can be 15 20 years old. It grows fast, and after their first summer they are 15-20 cm.


Fishing in Norway: The first commercial catches are taken near the coast and in some fjords in April May.  During the summer mackerel of all sizes enter the coast, and there are so many of them that it can be annoying for an angler. The mackerel stays in the fjords and in costal areas untill October - November. The commercial fishery in late summer and autumn is concentrated further west in the North Sea where the average size of the mackerel is bigger and more even. This fishery is one of the most important fisheries for the smallest vessels as well as for the trawlers and seiners.

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Mackerel on every hook


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Distribution and spawning grounds (red)


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Mackerel of all sizes enter the coast during the summer


Fishing in Norway


fishing in Norway tackle angler sea fishing