Bycatch of sardine fishing boats

Chub mackerel can grow up to 16 inches (40 cm), but they reach sexual maturity during the third year, at around 10 inches (25 cm). One of the Atlantic populations of chub mackerel sets on a reproductive migration route from the Portuguese coast to the Bay of Biscay each year. Fishing season for chub mackerel is in summer and autumn.


English: chub mackerel

Italian: lanzardo, cavallo, scombro macchiato, scombro cavallo

Croatian: lokarda, lancarda, plavica

Slovene: plavica, lokarda

French: maquereau espagnol, bis, vizet, maquereau blanc

Spanish: estorino, caballa, vissu, perilla, pintada, verdel, cuervas

Portuguese: cavalha, cavalinha

Greek: kolios

Turkish: kolyoz uskumbru baligi

German: Japanische Makrele, Thunmakrele

Distinguished from mackerel by the green-grey spots

Chub mackerel can be distinguished from mackerel by the green-grey spots along its silvery sides a and by its noticeably larger eyes. Their blue-green back with a series of wavy stripes protects chub mackerel against predatory fish and birds during their daily feeding, when the shoals move from the deeper waters closer to the sea surface.

Well represented in the Adriatic

Chub mackerel are well represented in the Adriatic Sea, accounting for more than half of the bycatch of Croatian fishing boats, which primarily focus on catching sardines. At the fish market, they cost the same as sardines, while mackerel are two to three times more expensive. According to a curt comment by a local vendor, it’s because chub mackerel just aren’t as tasty as mackerel.

Good swimmer

Chub mackerel's slender body and strong tail point to its being a good swimmer, which is reflected in the long routes to its spawning grounds and back. Each spring, one of the Atlantic populations of chub mackerel sets out on a migration route stretching more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometres) from the Portuguese coast to the Bay of Biscay, where they perform their reproductive duties, then swim back in early winter.

Economically exploited

Chub mackerel are an important food source for all species of tuna, swordfish, bonito and, of course, for humans – chub mackerel is one of the most commercially exploited fish in the world.


Fragrant mackerel marinade from Dalmatia – Savura, in the Blue book, page 128