Mackerel

Mackerel

Aomori has long been one of the major producers of mackerel (saba) in Japan. The Hachinohe Maeoki Saba has received high remarks for its fatty flavorful flesh. Found in an ocean area with intense changes where the Oyashio, Kuroshio, and Tsugaru warm currents converge, the abundance of plankton attracts the fish to the area. Around September of every year, the ocean water temperature drops, and the fish fatten up quickly.

Mackerels caught off the Hachinohe coast can be as large as 600 grams (21oz) and reach a fat content of up to 30%. In comparison to typical mackerel which on average has a 12% fat content, mackerel of Hachinohe Maeoki are clearly exceptional.
The Hachinohe Makeoki Saba Brand Council examines and approves each mackerel that comes through Hachinohe port to ensure that the fish meet the conditions for selection. The fish must be caught in the seas surrounding Hachinohe during a specific period of the year, which is determined by annual trends based on the number of catches, fat content, and weight of the fish. A fat content of over 15% is a baseline requirement for the selection of Hachinohe Maeoki Saba.
Hachinohe Maeoki Saba that are especially large receives the name of “Silver Mackerel.”

Distribution Season

in season distribution period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Canned Mackerel

Canned Mackerel

Hachinohe has the most profitable mackerel canning industry in Japan which uses quality mackerel caught locally. Mackerel spoils quickly; canned mackerel is made with freshly caught raw mackerel as well as frozen mackerel.
The flavor of mackerel concentrates when canned, making it a perfect choice for enjoying the fish and its benefits.

Shime Saba

Shime Saba

Shime saba has long been a favorite in Japanese cuisine. The shime saba using mackerels caught in the cool waters of Hachinohe have a smooth sour taste and a savory sweetness from the oils of the fish.

Hachinohe Maeoki Saba (Mackerel)

Hachinohe is the northernmost fishing ground for mackerel, or saba, in the Honshu island.
“Hachinohe Maeoki Saba” is a branded mackerel carefully selected by the Hachinohe Makeoki Saba Brand Council. They examine and approve each mackerel that comes through Hachinohe port to ensure that the fish meet the conditions for selection. The fish must be caught in the seas surrounding Hachinohe during a specific period, which is determined by annual trends based on the number of catches, fat content, and weight of the fish. A fat content of over 15% is a baseline requirement for the selection of Hachinohe Maeoki Saba.

Mackerels increase their fat content when the ocean water temperatures drop to around 18oC (64oF). Around September of every year, the water temperature in Hachinohe Maeoki (50 km offshore, east of Hachinohe) drops significantly. Mackerels caught off Hachinohe during peak season can be as large as 600 grams (21 oz) with a fat content of 30%. Even smaller mackerels around 400 grams (14 oz) have more than 15% fat content.

The two major species inhabiting the Hachinohe shore are the masaba, or chub mackerel, and goma saba, or blue mackerel. Chub mackerel is suited for making shime saba sushi because of its firm flesh. Blue mackerel, on the other hand, has a soft flesh and is more suited for grilling. Blue mackerels becomes fattier about a month earlier than chub mackerels.
Hachinohe Maeoki Saba that are especially large receives the brand name of “Silver Mackerel.” The selection criteria for Silver Mackerel is determined by the council annually based on the weight of the fish (must be over 550 grams, or 19 oz) and the haul trend of the year.

Hachinohe Maeoki Saba
Hachinohe Maeoki Saba sashimi

Harvest Months (Hachinohe Maeoki Saba)

in season distribution period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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