Can you eat mullet fish?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Can you eat mullet fish?”. We will also elaborate on the properties of mullet fish, and the safe ways of consuming mullet fish, along with the possible benefits and dangers caused by eating mullet fish.

Can you eat mullet fish?

Yes, you can eat mullet fish. Mullet fish exist in a wide range throughout the world; almost 80 varieties of mullet fish are found yet. The majority of these varieties are edible.

However, it is important to mention as the mullet fish consist of some levels of mercury, they should be consumed in moderation.

Mullet fish

The gray mullets (Mugilidae) were well known and have been highly appreciated since antiquity. These fish species are well presented in different historical and archaeological archives, including literature and the sculptural friezes of the ancient civilizations from the Mediterranean area. Nowadays, their commercial importance depends on the country. In North Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana, the main mullet producing states of the United States, there is little demand for mullet for human consumption due to its oiliness (1). 

Mullet is considered only one of the species of fish with gizzard that takes its nutrition from the detritus. It plays a significant role in filtering the impurities from the water by removing detritus. In Louisiana and Texas, mullets mostly reside around the oil rigs.

Subadult and adult striped mullet are schooling detritivores that feed on microalgae, filamentous algae, diatoms, and detritus, with younger mullets feeding on small invertebrates, including larval mosquitoes and copepods. Mullets are important as forage for piscivorous predators such as other fishes, birds, and mammals, and are used as bait by anglers fishing for marine game fishes (bluefish, mackerel, marlin, sailfish, tarpon, and tuna) (2).

Mullet is one of the famous dietary fish with fatty meat and it has a delicious taste. The mullet fish mostly live in the water. The most distributed one is the Striped mullet that resides in the Japanese and black seas. Mullet fish in North Florida grow mostly in pristine waters which also tastes delicious. 

Body of mullet 

Mullet has an elongated body shape. The head of the mullet is flattened while the tail has a distinctive notch. The whole body of the mullet has large scales which are painted beautifully in colors. The color combination is so appealing such as the above part is bluish-gray, sides are thin and narrow with dark bands while the bottom part is silver-coloured.

In general, all mullets are similar in morphology. They possess a short spinous dorsal fin with four spines that is separate from the soft dorsal fin and have a high pectoral fin that lacks the firm articulation between the pelvic and pectoral girdles. The striped mullet is a stout fusiform fish with a blunt snout and a broad, flat head; maximum size is 910 mm (3 ft.) (2). The body weight of the mullet is usually around 7 kgs. During the development of mullet, it sums up a lot of fat in its body that turns its eyes to yellow. Mullet fish is highly recommended due to its extremely pleasant taste. This taste develops due to the high content of fatty acids in the meat of mullet.

Is there any harm in eating mullet fish?

In addition to spoilage and microbial risk health, the fish and their processed products, including those from freshwater, are considered to be among the food categories that contribute the most to dietary human exposure to a large variety of contaminants. Heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are among the contaminants considered as the most dangerous (1).

According to the USDA, Mullet has a very low content of mercury, so it is regarded as safe to eat for most people. However, pregnant and lactating women should limit the consumption of mullets due to the sparse levels of mercury. 

Other individuals should manage their consumption of mullets according to their body weight. For instance, young children should only have 7 oz in a week. This makes them safe from having a high content of mercury in their system or experiencing mercury poisoning. 

Some ways of consuming mullet fish

Mullet is served in different styles. It can be used in salted, baked, smoked, or fried form. It can also be added to a number of foods such as soups or vegetables. 

Fried mullet is mostly served in diners, but you have to be cautious about the bones of mullet as even a small-sized mullet consists of a large number of tiny bones. 

It can also be served as a smoked mullet. Smoked mullet is specifically popular in North Florida. 

The health benefits of mullet

Fish is an enriched source of protein that can be easily digested and absorbed by the human body. Mullet fish provides protein and a range of amino acids that is interesting for human nutrition. Ten of these amino acids are considered essential amino acids for human healthy nutrition: phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, histidine, arginine, leucine and lysine (1). Mullet also consists of high content of vitamins such as A, PP, B1, phosphorus, zinc, fats, fluorine, calcium, molybdenum, nickel, and chromium. 

Mullet fish also has a good content of omega-3 which helps to protect the body from arteriosclerosis. These all above-mentioned elements which can be absorbed by the consumption of mullet are responsible to decrease certain issues like strokes, also regulating the blood pressure. Studies on the fat profile of mullets reveal the predominance of unsaturated fatty acids,  including mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). They also show that within PUFAs, the fatty acids of the omega-3 type generally account for a substantial proportion. These include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in particular, both of which are essential in human nutrition (1).

Mullet fish provides nutrients that are capable of clearing the arteries which protect us from a heart attack, also enables us to make a good cardiovascular system in the body, improves memory, also the hearing ability especially in old age along with sight factor.

It is highly recommended to add in your diet plan which is good for all age people either they are young, or elder. It should be consumed twice a week.

Mullet as a fish is considered a food product. The ear of the mullet is golden in color and also looks shimmery in appearance, this color and shimmery appearance are due to the high content of fat in-ear. Processed mullet fish includes dried salted roe and smoked filets (1).

The nutrients which are obtained by the mullet fish are extremely beneficial for good hair, skin, teeth, and nails.

Other FAQs about Fish that you may be interested in.

Can you eat monkfish?

Can you eat mako shark?

Can you eat bonnet-head shark?


In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question “Can you eat mullet fish?”. We have also elaborated on the properties of mullet fish, and the safe ways of consuming mullet fish, along with the possible health benefits and the dangers caused by eating mullet fish.


  1. Khemis, Ines Ben, Neila Hamza, and Saloua Sadok. Nutritional quality of the fresh and processed grey mullet (Mugilidae) products: a short review including data concerning fish from freshwater. Aqua Liv Res, 2019, 32, 2.  
  2. McAllister, C.T. Mullets. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. 2020.