Abundant offshore ﬁsh, sauries are members of the four species Scomberesocidae family. They have only moderately elongated jaws that are beaklike, and they are easily distinguished from needleﬁsh and halfbeaks by the ﬁve to seven ﬁnlets behind the dorsal and the anal ﬁns, as in mackerel. Sauries as a group have small scales, relatively small mouth openings, small teeth, and no swim bladders. These relatively abundant ﬁsh are heavily preyed upon by tuna, marlin, blueﬁsh, and other predators.
The Atlantic saury (Scomberesox saurus) travels in schools containing thousands of ﬁsh. They are commonly attacked by a variety of predators that sometimes drive the schools into shallow nearshore waters. Often a whole school will rise simultaneously from the sea and skitter across the surface (for this reason, commercial fishermen refer to them as “skippers”). They are sometimes caught commercially when abundant, but they are not ﬁshed for regularly.
The Atlantic saury occurs in the western Atlantic from the Gulf of St. Lawrence south to North Carolina and Bermuda. Atlantic saury are also known as, in French: balaou; Italian: costardella; Norwegian: makrellejedde; Portuguese: agulhao; Turkish: zurna.
The Paciﬁc saury (Cololabis saira) is similar and has a signiﬁcant commercial interest as well. Also known as mackerel pike and skipper (and sanma in Japanese), it occurs in large schools, generally offshore near the surface, and, like the Atlantic saury, feeds on small crustaceans and the eggs and the larvae of ﬁsh. The Paciﬁc saury occurs from Japan eastward to the Gulf of Alaska and south to Mexico.
Both species may reach a length of about 14 inches but are usually shorter.
Label: saltwater fish