Mote scientist to speak at world-class collaboration for grey mullet aquaculture in Mediterranean

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By Milthon Lujan

Sarasota, USA.- A Mote Marine Laboratory scientist joins an international team to discuss the future of Mediterranean mullet on May 14 in Italy.


The grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) is one of just six species selected for European program DIVERSIFY, a five-year project to advance the knowledge and its practical application in the culture of new and emerging finfish species. Interest in the culture of grey mullet as a high quality source of protein has increased in Europe due to the fact that this fish species requires little or no dietary fish meal. Moreover, the salted and dried roe (bottarga) from females is a prized delicacy and is an added value product from the culture of this species.

Due to the current stress aquaculture is placing on the wild population of grey mullet in the Mediterranean region, demand to improve current practices has increased significantly. Experts from around the world are flying in to gather for a one day workshop on May 14, in Bari, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. Dr. Kenneth M. Leber, Associate Vice President for Research and Program Manager for Fisheries Ecology & Enhancement at Mote Marine Laboratory, will be among the international minds discussing potential new strategies and perspectives for this fishery. This is just one of the six DIVERSIFY workshops to be held in 2018. All workshops will consist of presentations on selected aspects such as reproduction and spawning induction, larval rearing and grow out, nutrition, health, final product diversification and quality, socioeconomic issues, marketing and more.

“This workshop is an opportunity to positively impact an entire region’s food source,” said Leber. “The group of individuals attending this workshop are in the top of their field. As a team, I believe we will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of grey mullet aquaculture in the area, while also developing a solution-based future.”

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Leber will be presenting a talk titled, “Stock enhancement and mullet culture in Hawaii,” which highlights his findings from research personally conducted in the Pacific. During Leber’s time in Hawaii, he used grey mullet to demonstrate the effectiveness of using pilot-release experiments to optimize release strategies; such pilot releases are a fundamental aspect of a ‘Responsible Approach’ to marine enhancements (Blankenship and Leber 1995, Lorenzen et. al. 2010), which was partly inspired by successful results in mullet stock enhancement experiments and by pioneering studies in countries including Japan, Norway, China, Australia and the United States of America.


Other subjects to be discussed are “Traditions and cultural heritage in grey mullet culture,” “The culture of grey mullet in Egypt; the largest market in the Mediterranean region,” “Weaning grey mullet fry with diets differing in fish meal levels,” “Nutraceutical properties of mullet bottarga,” “Marketing options for processed farmed grey mullet,” and much more. Other speakers come from institutions such as Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Greece, Institute for Environmental Protection and Research from Rome, Italy, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research of Eilat, Israel, and Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology of Spain.

To learn more about this Diversify workshop visit 

Source: More Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

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