The common name given to many species of pelagic fish, mackerel are found in many places around the world, both in temperate and tropical seas, most commonly found living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.

Species of mackerel typically have stripes running vertically along their backs, along with deeply forked tails. Many are not widely distributed, and live in separate populations based on geography.

Some stocks migrate in large schools along coastal areas to suitable spawning grounds, which are typically shallow waters. After spawning, the mackerel return the way they came in, to return back to their feeding grounds, which generally are near an area of up-welling. During winter, mackerel often move offshore into deeper waters, where they remain in relative inactivity.

When mackerel are smaller, they are typically prey for larger predators, including larger mackerel and Atlantic cod. Schools of mackerel are regularly attacked and eaten by flocks of seabirds, whales, dolphins, sharks, and schools of fish, such as marlin and tuna.

Mackerel is highly sought after by humans, for the high levels of omega-3 oils, and in 2009 over five million tons were caught by commercial fishermen.

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