Common Jack Mackerel

Mackerel jack
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit30


possession limit60


boat limit-

Limits apply to mackerel and redbait species combined.

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Stock status


Other names

Cowanyoung, greenback horse mackerel, scad and scaly mackerel

Scientific name

Trachurus declivis

Grows to

Up to

50cm and 1.5kg

Identifying features

​Jack mackerel are dark blue-green above with silvery grey below. There is a black spot on the gill cover just in front of the pectoral fin. They may have yellow tinges on the fins and bony external plates. Three species of jack mackerel, all very similar in appearance, are found in Tasmanian waters: common jack mackerel, Peruvian jack mackerel and the yellowtail scad.


Jack mackerel form dense schools over the continental shelf and are found from the surface to depths up to 450 metres.  They feed on small krill and other plankton.  They are mainly caught in bays and coastal areas around Tasmania.  Common under lighted wharf and jetty areas open to the sea or tidal movement, particularly on Tasmania’s east and south coast during the warmer summer and autumn months.

Fishing information

Jack mackerel can be caught on a wide variety of baits including fish, raw chicken, squid and small baitfish.  They will also take small flies and soft plastic or artificial lures set up to resemble a small fish.  Jack mackerel are often found with a marine parasite in their mouth attached to their gill rakers which though unsightly, does not affect the eating quality of the fish.


Jack mackerel have sharp spines at the base of the anal fin and on the dorsal fin.


An underrated fish which can be prepared in various ways.  Available practically all year round, it has a high oil content, firm texture and medium flavour.  The dark flesh becomes lighter when cooked.  Can be used as fillets, smoked, whole.  Suitable to barbeque, foil, bake, grill, marinate, smoke, souse.  Popular smoked or as roll mops pickled in brine or vinegar.


Paprika Mackerel

4 mackerel; 2 tbsp tomato paste; salt and pepper; 2 tsp paprika; 1/3 cup spring onions, chopped; juice of ½ lemon; 1 cup sour cream, parsley.
Spread each fish with tomato paste.  Place into a greased ovenproof dish.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and half the paprika.  Mix spring onions and lemon juice into the sour cream.  Spoon over the fish, cover and bake in a moderate 180°C oven for 25 minutes or until fish is cooked.  Sprinkle with remainder of paprika and garnish with parsley.


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

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Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647


Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550


Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550