Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.
Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus) are a temperate and subtropical schooling fish found throughout the eastern Pacific. They are one of the most abundant sport-caught fish off California, and support an important commercial fishery as well. Recreational fishermen target Pacific mackerel using hook-and-line gear, while commercial fishermen use purse seine gear. Pacific mackerel are commonly used for human consumption, pet food, and bait. They are also a prey item for many marine mammals, birds, and predatory fish. Commercial landings have fluctuated since the start of the fishery, and are influenced by both environmental factors and market demands. Pacific mackerel are actively managed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council under the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan.