Jack Mackerel

Jack Mackerel: Quick Facts

Scientific name: Trachurus declivis (Jack Mackerel), T. novaezelandiae (New Zealand Jack Mackerel), T. symmetricus murphyi (Peruvian Jack Mackerel).

Other names: haature, hauture (Maori), horse mackerel, horse jack mackerel, slender jack mackerel, chinchard neozelandias (Canada), Chilean jack mackerel, saurel (France), maaji (Japan).

Ranking: E (Red - Worst Choice)

Best Fish Guide: Jack Mackerel

 Ranking: E (Red - Worst Choice)

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Alternative Choice: Kahawai

Description: These three species of jack mackerels are managed as one species and are mainly caught in the purse-seine target/bycatch fishery in the Bay of Plenty and off Northland’s east coast. Trawl fisheries catch jack mackerel in other areas including the Taranaki Bight and Chatham Rise. Peruvian jack mackerel are a southern ranging species found in deepwater, whereas jack mackerel and NZ jack mackerel are northern species, forming schools in midwater and ranging from shallow bays and harbours to oceanic islands and reefs.

Ecological concerns: The management of three species as one fishery, limited research, the lack of some basic biological data for Peruvian jack mackerel, the unknown sustainability of recent catch levels especially for western New Zealand (JMA7). Of significant concern is the bycatch of dolphins in the fishery west of the North Island and fur seals in fishery east and south of the South Island (JMA 3). Non-target fish bycatch, seabird bycatch, bottom trawl impacts on the seabed and ecological implications of jack mackerel removal from the food web. Other concerns include the lack of a management plan.

Economic value: Export value of $46 million in 2010-11 which was similar to 2008 with main markets in Japan, Eastern Europe and Fiji.


Biology and risk of overfishing (score C)
Status and sustainability of fish catches (score C)
Impact of fishing method and protected, threatened and endangered species captures (score E and E)
Management and management unit (score D and E)

For a full ecological assessment click here