Mullet could one day be Florida’s desired fish, help create hundreds of jobs and preserve the fishing industry. Local organizations have teamed together to study the uses of the under utilized and widely available fish and say one day it will be a big money maker.
Mullet is abundant in the Bay Area. However, right now the only part of the fish that’s profitable to commercial fishermen is the roe from the females. Some local organizations are working to change that.
Remember when thousands of dead mullet washed up along the shores of Anna Maria Island last December? It was the result of commercial fishermen dumping male mullet and only keeping the females.
The waste of perfectly good fish has inspired Healthy Earth, Mote Marine Laboratory, the Chiles Group, and other local organization to team up for a possible solution. They came up with the idea to make every aspect of the mullet from the meat to its oil profitable.
The organizations entered the gulf coast community foundation's first Innovation Challenge and won $375,000. Most of the money will be used to build a fish processing plant in Cortez. They will market the entire fish both locally and internationally.
Healthy Earth says by making mullet a desired fish it will create hundreds of job while helping to preserve the local fishing industry for generations to come.
“What we are trying to do is add value to this fish and to the community. And we think by developing other markets for the other parts of the mullet fish that the fishermen will then benefit in tern as well as helping us build a big business here in this area.” Said Thomas Biddinger the Vice President of Healthy Earth.
Construction on the processing plant will begin in 2016.
Mote Marine scientists are working with the organizations to study mullet for even further uses.