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Jack Mackerel (Trachurus declivis) Photographs and Information

Also known as Scad, Cowanyoung and Horse Mackerel. 

See Cowanyoung

The Common Jack Mackerel has an elongate body and a forked caudal fin. The scales in both the curved and straight parts of the lateral line are enlarged and scute-like, but may be overgrown by smaller scales in larger individuals. An accessory lateral line runs close to the base of the dorsal fin as far posteriorly as the fifth to tenth dorsal fin ray. The first dorsal fin is shot-based with eight spines. The second dorsal fin is long-based with the terminal ray being enlarged and slightly separated from the rest of the fin.

The species is dark blue-green above and silver to grey below. There is a prominent black blotch on the rear of the operculum.

The Jack Mackerel, greenback horse mackerel or greenback scad, Trachurus declivis, is a species of jack in the family Carangidae, found around southern Australia, and around New Zealand, from the surface to depths of 460 m. Its length is up to 64 cm.

Its common name derives from the legend that other smaller species of fish could ride on its back over great distances.

The greenback horse mackerel is similar to the koheru but has a blunter snout, larger eyes, and a line of 71 - 89 large and conspicuous bony scutes along the entire lateral line. They are commonly found near the bottom, in midwater and occasionally at the surface over the continental shelf. They form pelagic schools for most of the year but may move close to the sea bed during winter. They are generally found at less than 300 m water depth with temperature less than 16° C. Juveniles inhabit coastal and estuarine waters although they may sometimes be found offshore.

They feed mostly during the day, mainly on krill and other planktonic crustaceans, hatchetfishes (Sternoptychidae) and lantern fish (Myctophidae) at the edge of the continental shelf.

It is an important commercial fish.

Jack Mackerel (Trachurus declivis) Photo

Map showing where Jack Mackerel or Cowanyoung are found in Australian waters

cowany1.jpg (2884 bytes)

Good Marlin bait.

This species looks similar to the Yellowtail Scad. The Common Jack Mackerel is longer and more slender than the Yellowtail Scad and has a longer accessory lateral line (only reaches to below the first or second dorsal fin ray in the Yellowtail Scad).

Scientific Name Trachurus declivis
Location WA, SA, VIC, TAS, NSW, QLD
Season All year round
Size To 30 cm
Australian Species Code 37 337002
Taste, Texture meaty flavour, medium texture


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Jack Mackerel fillet.

Kilojoules 483 (115 calories)
Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 74 mg
Total fat (oil) 0.5 g
Saturated fat 37% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 14% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 49% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 23 mg
Omega-3, DHA 150 mg
Omega-6, AA 19 mg

Angling for Jack Mackerel:

Saltwater Fish - What bait to use for fishing - a list of saltwater baits with the main "diners" who will be tempted.

Cooking Jack Mackerel:

Colour of raw fillet:



Medium to soft.

Fat content:

Medium to high.


Meaty flavour.

Mackerel have a medium to high oil content and a strong, meaty flavour. They are great to use in fish curry.

Bake, grill, smoke and deep or shallow fry trevally, but preferably serve skinless. They can be excellent in sashimi and popular when served fried with chips. Smoking helps to reduce the oiliness, which is high in some species. Curried or herbed mayonnaise makes a delicious accompaniment.

Bake whole trevally with a stuffing of crumbs and shellfish meat, such as crab, and cook in citrus juices, fresh dill, parsley and chives.

Because of its dry flesh, marinate before cooking or serve with a sauce.

The flesh softens considerably after freezing and thawing so fresh trevally is far preferable.

The best food sources of vitamin D are oily fish, especially catfish, mackerel, and salmon. With a vitamin D content that measures between 350 and 425 IU, a single serving of one of these fish can approach or even surpass one’s recommended daily D target. Those who do not like fish or who simply wish to ratchet up their vitamin D intake should consider taking a daily dose of cod liver oil, which packs almost 1,400 IU of the nutrient in every tablespoon.

Microwave Cooking Times for Fish
- Fish fillets – 5 minutes per 500g on medium-high, +50 seconds more for thicker fillets, or until flesh flakes
- Whole fish - Large – 6 minutes/750g on medium
- Whole fish – Small – 3-4 minutes on medium

Commercial Fishing for Jack Mackerel:

Seafood Companies that Supply Mackerel see:

Processors of Mackerel

Exporters of Mackerel

Importers of Mackerel

Wholesale Suppliers of Mackerel

Seafood Agents for Mackerel

See Also:  Atlantic Mackerel  |  Atlantic Chub Mackerel  |  Atlantic Horse Mackerel  |  Blue Mackerel  |  Chub Mackerel  |  Frigate Mackerel  |  Grey Mackerel  |  Horse Mackerel  |  Indian Mackerel  |  Jack Mackerel  |  Pacific Mackerel  |  School Mackerel  |  Spanish Mackerel  |  Spotted Mackerel  |

More links about Jack Mackerel

Australian Government - Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (PDF file) - Australian Fisheries Statistics 2010/2011

Commonwealth Fisheries Association - The Commonwealth Fisheries Association is committed to ensuring the commercial fishing industry is recognised for its contribution to Australia’s economy, society and environment. CFA achieves this by promoting and advocating the value of the industry and the healthy seafood it provides to the community. Commonwealth wild harvest fisheries are among the best managed and environmentally sustainable fisheries in the world. Our members are committed to managing fisheries for Australia’s food security, community well-being and healthy marine eco-systems.



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