Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Pacific Mackerel

Scomber japonicus


Fun Facts

    The Pacific mackerel is also known as the chub mackerel or blue mackerel.

    Pacific mackerel are related to tuna but only grow to a length of about 8 to 14 inches.




The body of the Pacific mackerel tapers at both ends, is rather elongate, and is somewhat compressed. The head is pointed and is dark blue, and the mouth is large. The back is also dark blue with about 30 dark wavy lines, and the underside is silvery-green. The first and second dorsal fins are widely spaced. They feed mainly on larval, juvenile or small fishes, but there are times when they feed on small crustaceans and squid. 

The Pacific mackerel is found worldwide in temperate seas; in the eastern Pacific from Chile to the Gulf of Alaska. A female mackerel can release about one million eggs at a time. Many species of marine birds, marine mammals, tunas, sharks, and humans may hunt and eat mackerel. Mackerel are prized and are harvested for their meat, which is often very oily. They are known for their fighting ability, and are an important recreational and commercial fishery.

When present, Pacific mackerel are usually found at the Aquarium in tank number 34.