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Grey Mullet

Grey mullet

Introduction to the species:

The grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) is found in coastal tropical and subtropical waters all over the world. It reaches about 50cm in length and 8kg in weight. The Grey mullet is a euryhaline fish, meaning that the fish can acclimate to different levels of salinity. This species occupies waters at temperatures ranging from 8-25ºC in calm waters close to shore, around mouths of stream and inlets, and brackish bays and lagoons, rivers and harbors.

Grey mullet is omnivorous but usually feeds on plankton and fresh water algae. Its meat is really special due to being a traditional food in many places around the world: its roe is used to make dishes such as bottarga in Italy – the salted and dried roe from females is considered a highly prized delicacy in all of the southern Mediterranean. It is also famous along the coast of United States, served fried in seafood restaurants.

In terms of aquaculture, it is a really important fish all over the world, being both fished and farmed. Farming of grey mullet has been practiced for centuries, normally cultured in ponds and tanks, and has a high potential as a source for  sustainable animal protein in Europe. A market for grey mullet is well established, though a niche one, in the Mediterranean.  Even without any marketing effort by the aquaculture industry, the European market demand for grey mullet is likely to increase in the coming years.

EU facts:

  • Grey mullet has a good market in some countries, especially in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region but it is not a favourite fish in Western Europe.
  • Grey mullet has a great biological and economical potential for fish species and product diversification, and development of value added products.


Activities related to Grey mullet in NewTechAqua:


  1. A comparative evaluation of sustainable inland farming systems for grey mullet (RAS, aquaponics, biofloc technology, ELOXIRAS) will provide fish farmers with a set of guidelines and recommendations in order to select the best technology according to their purposes, geographical location, operational costs, business plan, etc. In addition, the use of grey mullet for conducting the above-mentioned critical assessment will boost the aquaculture of this new emerging omnivorous fish species. This approach will promote sustainable aquaculture operating systems through the application of new technology.
  2. A comparison of the gut microbiome from the resident fish will provide some new evidence on the origin of the microbial communities inhabiting the biofilter, biofloc and/or water and the host. This work will aid in advancing technology to a point where an ideal microbiome can be defined that controls colonisation of fish by a microbiome that has the desired functional traits and can act as an infection barrier against pathogens and prevent economic losses.


Common Fisheries Policy

DiversifyFish project 

European Commission Brief on algae biomass production

European Commission Fisheries facts and figures 


Food and Agriculture Organization Fish guide

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries Economic Report of the EU Aquaculture sector 

The 2018 Annual Economic Report on EU Blue Economy 

The European Commission‘s Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy

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