Jack Mackerel (JMA)

In New Zealand, jack mackerels are managed under the Quota Management System as one group comprising of three species: jack, horse and slender mackerel. Currently, around three quarters of the total jack mackerel catch is harvested by mid-water trawling off the west coast of New Zealand. A quarter is targeted by purse-seine vessels fishing in northeast New Zealand waters. Vessels in both fisheries specifically target jack mackerel. A few jack mackerel are also taken in south-eastern and sub-Antarctic waters both as a target catch and as bycatch, particularly in the squid trawl fishery. The jack mackerel fisheries have very few environmental effects.

Common Name

Jack mackerel

Scientific Name

Trachurus declivis (jack mackerel); Trachurus novaezelandiae (horse mackerel); Trachurus murphyi (slender mackerel)

Ministry Code


Quick Facts

  • Two distinct fisheries: trawl fishery for JMA 3 and JMA 7; purse seine fishery for JMA 1 (depths of ~60-200m)
  • Managed as three fish stocks: New Zealand’s North Island west (JMA 7), north (JMA 1) and east coasts (JMA 3)
  • DWG represents JMA 3 and JMA 7 and 92% of the total quota
  • Schooling pelagic fish that mainly feed on crustaceans
  • Start breeding around 2-4 years old and live to ~25 years
  • Dark flesh, lightens when cooked. Medium to high fat content, suitable for canning and smoking