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Sea Mullet (Mugil cephalus) Photographs and Information

Mullet live in shallow coastal areas and enter bays and rivers, in tropical and temperate waters world-wide. They can also inhabit freshwater reaches of coastal rivers and can migrate hundreds of kilometres. Sea mullet are found right around Australia, but are more common along the stretch of east coast between central Queensland and southern New South Wales. They are a schooling fish at all sizes, especially when migrating along the coast, which they tend to do in autumn and early winter. The sand mullet is an estuarine and inshore fish of the southern half of the continent, ranging form southern Queensland to southern Western Australia, while the closely related yellow-eye mullet's range is confined to more southerly waters.

Mullet are a large, plump silvery fish of excellent flavour. They are very oily, and have a high fat content, and have a very rich distinct, strong fishy flavour. They are usually sold whole or as fillets. The raw flesh is pinkish grey, dark after spawning period. After cooked the flesh flakes easily is medium to firm and always tender.

Mullet tend to school as juveniles and during spawning season as adults. They spawn at sea.

Mullet feed on detritus, diatoms, algae and microscopic invertebrates which they filter from mud and sand through their mouth and gills. A proportion of the sand ingested helps the grinding of the food in the muscular stomach.

There are two types of commercial fishery for mullet. One is an ocean beach fishery targeting spawning adults a their roe is highly prized . it is in high demand within Australia and overseas. It can be sold fresh, or smoked or dried. Beach seine nets are used for this type of fishery.

The second method of commercial fishery is the estuarine fishery. This accounts for the majority of the mullet catch. Mullet are captured all year round but the majority of the catch occurs in late summer and autumn. Coastal set gillnets and tunnel nets are the main form of gear used for this fishery.

photo of a sea mullet

Minimum size limits apply to commercial catches of mullet in QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS and SA.


Sea Mullet (Mugil cephalus) Photo

Map showing where sea mullet are found in australia


In the early part of the twentieth century, the fishing industry in Australia began to target additional species and use of new fishing methods. Until mid-century, sea mullet was the most common commercial fishery, followed by barracouta.

Scientific Name Mugil cephalus
Location QLD, NSW, VIC
Season All year round
Size To 78 cm, 1.4 kg
Australian Species Code 37 381002
Taste, Texture Rich strong fishy taste. Medium/firm & tender


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Mullet fillet.

Kilojoules 549 (131 calories)
Cholesterol 28 mg
Sodium 131 mg
Total fat (oil) 0.4 g
Saturated fat 32% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 15% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 53% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 34 mg
Omega-3, DHA 87 mg
Omega-6, AA 26 mg


Other Mullet Links:

Fish Fillets Recipes

Recipes for Mullet from How To Cook Fish

Exporters of Sea Mullet 
Importers of Sea Mullet 
Processors of Sea Mullet 
Wholesale Suppliers of Sea Mullet
Agents for Sea Mullet

See Also:
Mullet, Grey
Mullet, Sea
Mullet, Striped Red
Mullet, Yellow Eye
Mullet, Red
Mullet Roe

Sea Mullet (Mugil cephalus), 16 species of sea mullet in australian watersThere are around 16 species of Mullet in Australian waters, most with silver bodies covered in large clear scales. Available wild-caught, they are free-swimming, mainly marine fish, that school near the surface in estuaries and close to the coast over soft bottoms. They are mainly caught using haul and beach seines, gillnets, and tunnel, pound and ring nets. About 8 species are sold commercially under the name Mullet, though Sea and Diamondscale Mullets can also be marketed under their separate names. Sea Mullet, distinguished by a transparent gelatinous eyelid, is the largest Australian Mullet. Itís found around the entire coast, moves out to sea from April-July to spawn, and is mainly caught off beaches in Queensland, NSW and WA using set and surround nets. Diamondscale Mullet, distinguished by its silver-olive body and large dark-edged scales, is found around the northern coast from Shark Bay (WA) to the Queensland-NSW border, and is caught mainly off the Queensland coast using beach seines. Yelloweye Mullet occurs mainly around the southern coast from Kalbarri (WA) to Newcastle (NSW) including Tasmania with a Marine Stewardship Council accredited fishery in Lakes and Coorong (SA); Flat-tail Mullet, from Kalbarri (WA) around the southern coast to Cooktown (Qld) including northern Tasmania; and Bluetail Mullet, in northern waters from Noosa (Qld) to Exmouth Gulf (WA).

The sea mullet is a fat, cylindrical fish characterised by a thick, transparent, gelatinous covering over the eyes. Its colouration varies, but is generally dark grey or green on the back with bright-silver flanks and a silvery-white belly. The sand mullet is a much more streamlined fish with a more pointed head and smaller eyes. A small, dark blotch is evident at the base of its pectoral fins. The yellow-eye mullet is characterised by its yellowish eyes and smaller, more easily dislodged scales.

The sea or "bully" mullet is the giant of the mullet clan, although it is possibly rivalled in this regard by the tropical diamond-scaled mullet. Bully mullet commonly weigh from 0.6 to 1.5 kg or more, although those taken commercially in beach-netting operations often weigh between 1.5 and 3 kg, with exceptional giants approaching 5 kg. The sand and yellow-eye mullet are much smaller fish, rarely exceeding 0.7 kg.


Angling & Fishing for Mullet:

Mullet are not a common catch for recreational fisherman, although in brackish to freshwater mullet will accept baits of dough or earthworms, on small hooks under a float. Small "poddy" mullet are a good live bait for such fish as flathead and can be caught in a narrow bottle or similar container filled with bread. Many mullet species are difficult to catch, but both the sand and yellow-eye can be taken on light tackle and small hooks baited with bread, dough, peeled prawn, cockle or pipi, worm pieces or maggots.



Cooking Mullet:

Sea mullet rate as fair to good table fish, their oily, somewhat fatty flesh being well suited to smoking, while sand mullet are arguably the tastiest of the mullet clan. All mullet should be cleaned promptly if intended for the table. Commonly 500g-1.5kg and 30-45cm, though Sea Mullet can grow to 8kg and Goldspot rarely grows larger than 30cm and 1kg.  Mullet are a low priced fish. Usually sold as skinned fillets. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for pinkish-grey, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

Commercial Fishing for Mullet:

Sea mullet (Mugil cephalus) is an important species for commercial fishers in southern Queensland. The species is a major component of the ocean beach fishery, but is caught in similar numbers in bays, estuaries and near-shore coastal waters primarily south of Bundaberg. Mullet are caught using a variety of nets and netting methods. The nets and methods used depend on the fishery. Some of the nets used include mesh nets and seine nets. The estuarine fishery uses gill and tunnel nets to target fish for the local fresh fish market throughout the year. The ocean beach fishery uses seine and haul nets to target pre-spawning fish from April to August to supply an international export market for mullet roe.

Worldwide Trade Seafood Industry Directory of companies and contacts who are Exporters, Importers & Processors, Wholesale & Agents of Mullet.


More links about Mullet & Mullet Information

Australian Government - Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences - Australian Fisheries Statistics. Worldwide Trade Seafood Industry Directory of companies and contacts who are Exporters, Importers & Processors, Wholesale & Agents of Mullet


mullet fillet, fillet of mullet fish, sea mullet, diamond scale mullet

commercial netting of sea mullet from the beach, beach fishing for sea mullet

Mullet Fillet

Commercial netting sea mullet off the beach


underwater photo of sea mullet

mullet fillet, skin on mullet fillet, skin off mullet fillet, mullet fish

Diving the Gold Coast - Photo by Ian Banks

Two mullet fillets, showing meat and skin sides.






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