Monday, January 11, 2021

Atlantic mackerel: The family of Scombridae

The Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) belongs to the family Scombridae. It is a pelagic, migratory schooling species that can be found in both temperate and cold shelf areas. Atlantic mackerel is one of the most abundant and widely distributed migratory fish species in the North Atlantic. Mackerel live their entire life in the pelagic environment. Early life stages (eggs and young larvae) drift passively with the currents until they start undertaking vertical migrations.

Atlantic mackerel are opportunistic feeders that can ingest prey either by individual selection of organisms or by passive filter feeding. Filter feeding occurs when small plankton are abundant and mackerel swim through patches with mouth slightly agape, filtering food through their gill rakers.

In the North East Atlantic (NEA) mackerel spawn from the Mediterranean Sea in the south to the Faroe Islands in the North and from Hatton Bank in the West to Kattegat in the East. Spawning starts in January in the Mediterranean Sea, February off the Portuguese coasts and ends in July north of Scotland and in the North Sea.

Mackerel is an important food source to predatory fish such as tuna, striped bass, and cod, and it is often used as bait to target these species by both commercial and recreational fishermen.

Fresh mackerel has a rich pronounced flavour, greyish and oily colour, which turns from off-white to beige when cooked. It has a soft flaky texture and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is also an excellent source of selenium, niacin, and vitamins B6 and B12. The Atlantic mackerel can be hot smoked, either whole, gutted with or without the head on, or as fillets.
Atlantic mackerel:  The family of Scombridae

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