Catching mackerel at its best

We’re passionate about the fish we catch and export around the world. After all, it is a reflection of our culture and seafaring heritage. We know that where and when you catch mackerel has a direct impact on the taste and nutritional content of the fish.

Norwegian mackerel spends its life swimming in cold, clear waters that are full of sprat and other small fish for it to feast on. By the time the shoals reach the Norwegian coast the mackerel is large, fatty and full of flavour. We call this the premium catch period.

Map showing distribution and spawning areas for Norwegian mackerel

Knowing where to look

Mackerel is a migrating fish and it swims in large shoals near the surface. During the winter season, the fish live near the seabed off the southwest coast of Norway, and in this period they eat very little. This changes between April and May, when the mackerel swim to the central parts of the North Sea to spawn. In the summer months, we’ll also spot spawning mackerel in our fjords. At this time of year, you’re likely to see anglers on the piers (young and old), trying to catch the delicious fish for their supper.
After spawning, mackerel becomes known as “autumn mackerel”. This is when it is at its fattiest and tastiest. 
Graph showing premium catch period for Norwegian mackerel: August-November

Premium mackerel catch periods

Map showing main fishing areas for Norwegian mackerel

 Main fishing areas


Full of flavour

One of the key benefits of fishing in the autumn months is that the mackerel has a higher fat content. Not only does this transform Norwegian mackerel into a succulent fish, packed with flavour, it also increases the levels of omega-3 in the fish. This makes Norwegian mackerel a tasty and healthy choice. To find out more about the nutritional content of mackerel from Norway, please visit the dedicated nutrition page

The taste test

A blind taste test was conducted with 108 elementary school children in Tokyo. They were asked to taste both domestic masaba and Norwegian mackerel, without being told which was which. The results were as followed:

Infographic children and a fish

66% of total children preferred the Norwegian mackerel

Trophy 44 % and 24 %

44% of these children preferred it because of its fattiness and 24% preferred the tenderness

Infographic dinnerplate with number: 76%

76% of children who ate fish dinners 2+ times a week preferred the Norwegian shio-saba

A heritage of fishing experience

Norwegians have been relying on the sea for centuries, so it should come as no surprise that we have the process down to an art form. We use the latest electronic sonar equipment to locate the fish and then our expert fishermen set to work reeling them in. The most common method we use is a purse seine, a large scooped netting contraption designed to encircle a shoal of fish. A wire then pulls the purse seine inwards and draws the opening down. This enables the fishermen to pull the fish onto the ship. 

Our ships are kitted out with all of the latest technology and fish can be cooled to 0˚C within just a few minutes. Of all the loved Norwegian mackerel products, our biggest exports are frozen whole fish and frozen fillets.

To find out more about how we deliver mackerel to the world, please visit our dedicated markets page

Norwegian State Quality Inspection

From purse seine to plate, our entire fishing industry is monitored to ensure our high quality and safety standards are maintained.