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Jack Mackerel
Jack mackerel
Scientific Name Trachurus symmetricus
Conservation Status Data Defficient
Family Chordata
Habitat West Coast Rim
Food Small organisms/organic matter


The Pacific jack mackerel,Trachurus symmetricus (also known as the Californian jack mackerel or simply jack mackerel), is an abundant species of pelagic marine fish in the jack family, Carangidae. The species is distributed along the western coast of North America, ranging from Alaska in the north to the Gulf of California in the south, inhabiting both offshore and inshore environments. The Pacific jack mackerel is a moderately large fish, growing to a maximum recorded length of 81 cm, although commonly seen below 55 cm. It is very similar in appearance to other members of its genus, Trachurus, especially Trachurus murphyi, which was once thought to be a subspecies of T. symmetricus, and inhabits waters further south. Pacific jack mackerel travel in large schools, ranging up to 600 miles offshore and to depths of 400 m, generally moving through the upper part of the water column.

The Pacific jack mackerel is distributed through the eastern Pacific Ocean from Alaska in the north, down the western North American seaboard to the Baja California peninsula in the Gulf of California.

Pacific jack mackerel are fished commercially as well as for sport. They are often caught on baited hook from piers and boats, and also while salmon trolling. Commercial fishing occurs along the coast. Large individuals often move inshore and north in the summer.

Pacific jack mackerel is canned in the same manner as salmon. Fish are cleaned, gutted and finned, then packed into cans with salt and water.

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