Scomber scombrus


A streamlined, fast-swimming fish, with a deeply forked tail, the Mackerel migrates to shallower waters during the summer. Mackerel 'school', forming large groups that appear to move as one. They feed on small fish, such as sand eels, but spend the winter in deep water where they stop feeding.

How to identify

Unmistakeable; pale silvery-green with darker tiger stripes down the back.

Where to find it

Found all around our coasts.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Mackerel are a commercially important species and declined severely during the 1960s due to overfishing - a threat which continues today. You can help by being careful about what you choose in the supermarket - go for sustainably produced fish and shellfish, preferably with the Marine Stewardship Council's logo. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Scomber scombrus
Fish and sharks
Length: up to 60cm Weight: 3.4kg Average Lifespan: up to 25 years
Conservation status
Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.