Norwegian: Makrell / Latin: Scomber Scombrus

The Norwegian coastline is vast – stretching from Skagerrak in the south to the cold, clear waters of the Barents Sea in the north. The climate, combined with the clarity of the water has created the ideal environment for fish. 

How to spot mackerel

Mackerel is a fast-swimming fish – in fact, it doesn't have a swim bladder and must swim constantly so that it doesn’t sink! Thankfully, it’s easy to spot because of its distinctive shape and colouring. Its body is round and streamlined with a striking green and blue colour, and it has a number of tiger-like irregular cross bands along its back. If you are quick enough to catch one, you’ll notice that its skin is silky smooth – all thanks to its tiny scales.

Many mackerel


Age                        Up to 25 years

Length                  Up to 65 cm

Weight                  Up to 3.5 kilos

Meet the mackerel family

Whole mackerel
Mackerel is a pelagic fish, a categorisation that takes its name from the pelagic zone of the sea where the fish lives – neither close to the seabed, nor the shore.
Pelagic fish come in a variety of sizes – from small species, such as herring and sardines, to large predator species, such as the southern bluefin tuna and oceanic sharks. Pelagic fish are typically streamlined, which enables them to swim at speed through coastal and open water, often in schools weighing hundreds of tonnes.
Pelagic species common in Norway: Mackerel, herring, and blue whiting. Smaller populations: sprat and horse mackerel.

Unlike demersal species, pelagics travel vast distances during migration – hence you’ll find mackerel fisheries spread across a wide area. But of all the places where mackerel is found, there’s no environment quite like the cold, clear Norwegian waters.

Perfect timing

The premium catch period for mackerel is between September and November, when the mackerel swim back from the feeding areas in the Norwegian Sea to the spawning areas. This is when the mackerel has the highest fat content, is at its tastiest and is packed with healthy omega-3 EPA/DHA fatty acids. This high fat content is the reason why Norwegian mackerel has gained such a reputation around the world and is often considered a delicacy.

If you’d like to know more about the nutritional benefits of mackerel or the premium catch period, please take a look at the dedicated pages.