Provincetown History Snippet: The Mackerel Fleet
Provincetown’s fishing fleet has traditionally gone after tuna, cod, haddock, and striped bass, but for many years it’s mackerel—a migratory fish arriving off the Cape in summer—that was one of the area’s primary catches.
The mackerel industry developed more slowly than the whitefish industry because, unlike cod and other fishes, mackerel was an oily fish that couldn’t be salted and dried, making it more difficult to transport. Preserving and taking mackerel to market involved salting it as soon as it was caught and putting it immediately into barrels, allowing it to sit in its own brine and pickle.
Today mackerel (and even king mackerel) can still be caught off Provincetown; the most popular ways of preparing them are smoking and roasting; and of course freezing has solved the transportation problem.