They occur in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few enter bays and can be caught near bridges and piers.
Mackerel are prized (and are highly harvested) for their meat, are known for their fighting ability, and are an important recreational and commercial fishery. The meat can spoil quickly, especially in the tropics, causing scombroid food poisoning - it must be eaten on the day of capture, unless cured.
A saltwater fish, related to the tuna, with an oily, soft, pale flesh, that is sometimes pink, which when cooked, becomes flaky and firm with an off-white color. The rich flavor will vary according to the oiliness of the fish, which varies with the seasons and with different species. If the fish has been properly cooked, the meat will appear opaque but will still be moist.