Māori Name: hauture
Name Scientific: Tracherus declivis, T. novaezelandiae, T. murphyi
Availability: Year round
Attributes Weight: 0.2–0.8kg, up to 1.5kg
Attributes Length: 15–45cm
Jack mackerel (T. declivis), are found only in Australasian waters, especially in the central and northwestern seas.
Green/blue body with a green sheen, white below, and streamlined with long pectoral fins and obvious lateral line. There are varieties in colour and number of scutes. Wide overlapping scales along lateral line expand to hard ridge at tail base. Horse jack mackerel (T. novaezelandiae) is smaller and slightly deeper-bodied. Green with broad but faint brown bands, white below and grows to 30 to 40 cm. They are distributed from Australasia through southeast Asia to Japan. Slender jack mackerel (T. murphyi) is a slender-bodied large bluegreen species. First found in New Zealand in the early 1980s, it extended territory from the eastern Pacific Ocean to the southern.
Three Jack mackerel species are found around New Zealand: T. declivis, T. novaezelandiae, and T. murphyi, all pelagic species belonging to the Carangidae family (trevallies, kingfishes).
Summer spawners, they occur in large schools and grow fairly quickly to live for 15 to 25 years.
All three jack mackerel species have been included in the Quota Management System since 1996; they have different geographical distributions, although their ranges partially overlap. For assessment purposes, the three species are treated separately where possible. Catch records extend back to 1946, though landings were small until the mid 60s. The Chilean jack mackerel appeared in New Zealand waters in the 1980s but is not thought to breed here.
Jack mackerel are trawled year-round along the coast. Horse mackerel are often found in harbours and bays, living at depths of up to 300 metres, they are caught by purse seiners off the northeast coast. Slender jack mackerel are found around central and southern New Zealand, they are caught by trawler.
Did You Know
Jack mackerel may be small fish - but their economic value is big. In 2010 they were New Zealand's seventh most valuable fish export (NZ$43 million).
Jack mackerel flesh is oily, dark but lightens on cooking and suited to most cooking methods. Bake; bbq; casserole; curry; marinate; poach; smoke; or steam.
When buying whole jack mackerel, always check the... EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills SKIN: Bright, with a luminous sheen When buying jack mackerel fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.