Species: Trachurus symmetricus. Other names: Spanish mackerel, jackmackerel, jackfish, California jack mackerel.


Identifying Characteristics and Biology

  • Jack mackerels are metallic blue to green to olive-green on their backs, and silvery-colored below and bellies.
  • Their bodies are streamlined and compact, and the upper part of the gill cover has a dark spot.
  • This fish grows to 32 inches and is a long-living species living to about 35 years.

Range and Habitat

  • Typical range: from the Gulf of Alaska to the tip of Baja California, Mexico, from 600 to 1,200 miles offshore.
  • Young jack mackerel like to congregate in densely formed schools near kelp beds and shallow reefs.
  • Older jack mackerels enjoy more solitary environments and typically venture much deeper than younger fish.

Market Forms

  • Jack mackerels are an important food fish, and can be found canned and occasionally fresh and fresh-frozen in some markets.
  • Fillets and canned fish can be used interchangeably with tuna.



Scombroid poisoning danger with the jack mackerels.


Love, Milton. Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast. Santa Barbara: Really Big Press, 1996. Print.

Pacific jack mackerel. (2013, October 25).  In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:22, February 19, 2014. Web.

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