Mackerel (Makrel) is a pelagic fish that can swim at great speeds, and in summer and autumn it moves in huge shoals along the coast of Norway and into Skagerrak, the North Sea and the southern reaches of the Norwegian Sea.
In Europe, the mackerel family is divided into three main stocks: one to the west of the British Isles, one in the North Sea and Skagerrak and a third in the Gulf of Biscay. The mackerel fished in the North Sea, Skagerrak and the Norwegian Sea are generally managed together with the western stock of mackerel.
Each year, Norwegian fishermen land between 140,000 and 160,000 tonnes of mackerel in Norway. Most of these fish are Atlantic mackerel that migrate into the North Sea and Skagerrak in the autumn.
Towards the end of the year, the fully matured mackerel migrate out of the North Sea toward their spawning grounds to the west and southwest of Ireland, where they start spawning in March.
The fishery takes place primarily during the summer half of the year. The vessels used vary from boats that use nets and trolling lines along the coast, to large ocean-going seiners.
Mackerel is sold as fresh and frozen fillets and as whole fish. There are many processed mackerel products, including hot-smoked, coldsmoked and pepper-smoked mackerel. In addition, there are many varieties of tinned mackerel and mackerel spreads in tomato sauce. Fresh mackerel can be fried, poached and grilled and is well-suited to brine-curing. Fried mackerel in a sour cream sauce is a popular delicacy in Norway.
In the spring, mackerel have a low fat content, about 3%, whereas autumn mackerel may contain up to 30%, and hence large concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a good source of vitamins D and B12. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in maintaining nerve fibres.
Seafood from Norway.
April to November
Up to 66 cm
seldom longer than 40 cm