Author of The Climate Diet
This small, schooling fish has the satisfying, meaty texture and mild flavor typical of big fish, along with a mighty list of nutrients. Eating Atlantic mackerel is a more sustainable choice too, since they’re abundant and low on the ocean food chain. Ours are from a well-managed fishery in northern Spain, using hook and line, with little to no bycatch.
Nutrition: Small but Mighty
Atlantic mackerel is packed with vital nutrients. Unlike larger fish such as tuna and swordfish, they don’t have the high levels of toxins often found in these predators.
Each can of our Atlantic mackerel contains around 20 grams of protein (40 to 42% of the daily value) and is an excellent source of vitamin B-12, selenium, vitamin E and niacin. It also has 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving, thought to benefit hearth health. Atlantic mackerel are low on the food chain, feeding on zooplankton, so they don’t accumulate toxins in the way that higher-level apex predators can over the course of their longer lives. Because toxins are passed up the food chain, they become more concentrated as animals eat and then are eaten in turn.
Sourcing: A Delicacy from Spain
Our Atlantic mackerel comes from the Bay of Biscay, in northern Spain, where the fish school prolifically and are caught using techniques that have been passed down for generations.
Before dawn during mackerel season in spring, when the weather is often moody and unpredictable, small boats set off in search of mackerel. When they encounter the dense, swirling schools of fish, they cast out their lines, each set with up to 30 hooks wrapped in red wool to look like the tiny crustaceans that entice mackerel to bite. This method requires no baitfish, results in little to no bycatch, and produces better-quality fish, since mackerel are never crushed at the bottom of a net. The mackerel are taken to nearby cannery Conservas Antonio Pérez Lafuente, where they’re lightly seasoned and packed in extra-virgin olive oil.
Enviro: Small Fish, Big Impact
Eating Atlantic mackerel takes pressure off larger, overfished species like tuna. This allows the less abundant fish stocks to recover.
“Forage fish—such as mackerel, sardines and anchovies—are low in the food chain,” says Tatiana Lodder, Seafood Assessor for Good Fish Foundation, an organization dedicated to fish conservation. “There’s a lot of biomass and they’re much more resilient than the larger, higher trophic species.” In fact, the numbers of Atlantic mackerel actually appear to be increasing in our oceans. The Good Fish Foundation carefully assesses our mackerel stock to ensure there’s plenty left—for us and for other species that depend on them for food.
Culture: Workers First
Our mackerel fishers come from the village of Santoña, in the coastal province of Cantabria. They belong to a traditional local cofradía, or fishing association, which shares profits and guarantees worker safety and other benefits.
Founded 120 years ago, the Santoña cofradía is one of the oldest of its kind in Cantabria. “All the fishing here is artisanal—these are families, not big corporations— and they’re all members of the cofradía,” says José Ramon Fernández del Val, the seafood buyer for our production partner in northern Spain that processes and cans our Atlantic mackerel.
Partners: Guided by Science
We work with Good Fish Foundation, of Veenendaal, the Netherlands, to ensure that Bay of Biscay mackerel, as harvested by the Cantabrian fleet, remain a truly renewable resource.
As one of the few food companies that works in direct partnership with fish conservation and science organizations, our goal is to find solutions that protect, rather than deplete, our home planet. Good Fish evaluates the sustainability of fisheries in Europe and works with fishermen, fish farmers, processors and retailers to help seafood buyers make environmentally sound decisions about what to eat. The group also publishes a sustainable seafood guide for consumers and advises chefs.
Photo Courtesy of Good Fish Foundation
Our mild, meaty Mackerel fillets are packed in organic extra-virgin olive oil and are available with four different seasonings: Lemon Caper, Spanish Paprika, Roasted Garlic and Smoked.
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