The Atlantic Mackerel is by far the most common of the ten species of the family that are caught in British waters. It is extremely common in huge shoals migrating towards the coast to feed on small fish and prawns during the summer.
Abundant in cold and temperate shelf areas, it forms large schools near the surface. They overwinter in deeper waters but move closer to shore in spring when water temperatures range between 11–14 °C (52–57 °F).
In north-east Atlantic: North Sea (east) and British Isles (west). The North Sea stock decreased dramatically in the 1960s because of direct overfishing.
Male and female Atlantic mackerel grow at about the same rate, reaching a maximum age of about 20 years and a maximum fork length of about 47 centimetres (19 in). Most Atlantic mackerel are sexually mature by the age of three years.
Atlantic mackerel are sought after for food either cooked or as sashimi. It consists mostly of red meat and has a strong taste desirable to some consumers. Atlantic mackerel is extremely high in vitamin B12. Atlantic mackerel is also very high in omega 3 (a class of fatty acids), containing nearly twice as much per unit weight as does salmon. Unlike King mackerel and Spanish mackerel, Northern Atlantic mackerel are very low in mercury, and can be eaten at least twice a week according to EPA guidelines.
Mackerel is an excellent source of Phosphatidylserine as it contains approximately 480 mg / 100 grams by weight. Phosphatidylserine is under investigation to mitigate symptoms of ADHD and Alzheimer's disease.
- "Scomber scombrus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=172414. Retrieved 18 April 2006.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Scomber scombrus" in FishBase. January 2006 version.
- Atlantic mackerel NOAA FishWatch. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
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