Grey mullet

Maori name: mauhauaitu
Scientific name: Mugil cephalus
Availability: Year round, but mainly November to March and in the north of the North Island
Weight: Under 1kg
Length: 30–40cm, reaching 60cm

Grey mullet

Maori name: mauhauaitu
Scientific name: Mugil cephalus
Availability: Year round, but mainly November to March and in the north of the North Island
Weight: Under 1kg
Length: 30–40cm, reaching 60cm
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Location

It has a worldwide distribution between 42 degrees North and 42 degrees South. Some Grey mullet appear to remain in one locality while others move continuously. In New Zealand, they are usually found in coastal waters around the North Island, particularly in shallow muddy harbours, mangrove swamps, and river estuaries. Some swim up rivers into fresh water.

Attributes

Grey above, tinged with blue or green with lateral stripes along the sides, and silver on the belly. It has yellow eyes, the base of the pectoral fin is faintly purple, and the pelvic fins are pale yellow. This species is distinguished from the related Yelloweye mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri) by its broad head, flattened dorsal surface, and lateral stripes.

Family

Grey mullet is a surface-dwelling coastal species belonging to the Mugilidae family (mullets).

Spawning

Grey mullet schools gather from November to February, when they spawn offshore.

Sustainability

Grey mullet are distributed worldwide and have been fished by customary, commercial and recreational fishers for over 100 years. Overseas and New Zealand tagging studies indicate complex movement patterns in adult populations: some schools remain in one locality, while others appear to be on the move almost continuously. Assessing abundance using commercial catch rates has proved problematic, but daily catch rates in the main net and beach seine fishery have been stable over recent decades.

Fishing methods

Grey mullet are caught year-round, but mainly from November to March and mainly around the north of the North Island, usually in set nets and beach seines.

Nutrition

Grey mullet is a good source

To quality for a 'good source' claim the food must contain at least 25% of the RDI.
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is considered to be the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

of Selenium

Selenium is necessary for normal immune system function and for the production of thyroid hormones and it contributes to the maintenance of hair and nails

and Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is necessary for normal neurological function and it contributes to blood formation, energy metabolism and to the growth and development in children

; and a source

To quality for a 'source' claim the food must contain at least 10% of the RDI.
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is considered to be the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

of Iodine

Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, for normal neurological function and for normal energy metabolism, and it contributes to the growth and development in children

, Phosphorus

Phosphorus is necessary for normal teeth, bone and cell membrane structure and for energy metabolism

, Potassium

Potassium is necessary for water and electrolyte balance, it contributes to the functioning of the nervous system and normal muscle function; and to the normal growth and development of children

, Niacin (vitamin B3)

Niacin (vitamin B3) is necessary for the release of energy from food and for the normal structure and function of skin and mucous membranes, and contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

and Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for normal bone structure and the utilisation of calcium and phosphorus and it contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth

.

Seafood is a highly nutritious food and is a great source of protein

Protein is necessary for tissue building and repair, normal growth and development of bone in children and adolescents aged 4 years and over, and contributes to growth and maintenance of muscle mass

. Many species are low in saturated fat and a number of them are a good source of Omega 3

Omega 3 is a group of fatty acids that contribute to heart health

.

Tips

Grey mullet has medium to firm fillets of pinkish-grey flesh with a high oil content. It is excellent smoked. Also try it baked; in a casserole; poached; or steamed. The roe of grey mullet is considered a delicacy.

Buying & Storage Tips

When buying whole grey mullet, always check the...
EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil
GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills
SKIN: Bright, silver with a luminous sheen
When buying grey mullet fillets, always check the...
FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy
If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.