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Norwegian Mackerel

Norwegian Mackerel—known for vivid tiger stripes—is favored worldwide for its firm, flavorful meat and high omega 3 fatty acids. Learn more about what distinguishes this succulent fish.


Wild-caught using the purse seine method in the cold, clear waters of Norway


Availability: Available fresh and frozen throughout the year

Season: April to November, but the premium catch season for autumn mackerel is September to November, when it’s at its highest quality

  • There are two types of Norwegian Mackerel: spring mackerel and autumn mackerel
  • After mackerel spawn, they become known as autumn mackerel and have a higher fat content (up to 30%), which provides more flavor and more-succulent meat. This also means the meat is higher in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Spring mackerel has a low fat content (3%)

Size: Typically 15–25 inches long and approximately 6.5 pounds


  • Norwegian Mackerel are fast-swimming pelagic fish found in large coastal shoals as well as in the Skagerrak, the North Sea and the southern Norwegian Sea
  • Fishing takes place during the summer and fall months
  • Mackerel must be mature (older than 3 years)
  • Immediately after being caught, mackerel are pumped straight into refrigerated holding tanks onboard the fishing vessels, avoiding contamination from the outdoor air
  • In the fishing vessels, the catch is stored in seawater at temperatures of between 32ºF and 34ºF to maintain freshness
  • They are then delivered directly to processing plants by automated systems without the fish ever being touched

Taste and Texture

  • Moist, firm texture and rich flavor
  • Succulent meat that melts in your mouth

Handling and Storage

Wrap Norwegian Mackerel and keep in freezer until ready to use


  • In refrigerator or a cold-water bath in refrigerator overnight
  • Defrosted product should be used within 24 hours

How to Tell if Norwegian Mackerel Is Fresh

  • Look for shiny bodies with bright eyes
  • Should have firm, rigid texture

Nutritional Information

Norwegian Mackerel is a good source of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron

How to Prepare

Nowergian Mackerel can be prepared in multiple ways

  • Sushi
  • Fried
  • Boiled
  • Grilled
  • Baked
  • Barbecued

Interesting Facts

  • Mackerel is also referred to as saba.
  • About 50% of restaurants that serve mackerel in the U.S. specialize in Asian cuisine, with 65% of it being featured in sushi preparation (sushi, sashimi, nigiri and hosomaki).