The Atlantic Mackerel is by far the most common of the ten species of the family that are caught in British waters. It is extremely common in huge shoals migrating towards the coast to feed on small fish and prawns during the summer.
Abundant in cold and temperate shelf areas, it forms large schools near the surface. They overwinter in deeper waters but move closer to shore in spring when water temperatures range between 11° and 14°C.
In north-east Atlantic: North Sea (east) and British Isles (west). North Sea stock decreased dramatically in the 1960s because of direct overfishing.
Male and female Atlantic mackerel grow at about the same rate, reaching a maximum age of about 20 years and a maximum fork length of about 47 cm. Most Atlantic mackerel are sexually mature by the age of three years.
Although Atlantic mackerel have been somewhat depleted in the waters around Europe, the Atlantic mackerel population apparently persists at abundant levels in U.S. waters despite being overfished in the 1970s.
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