Liza vaigiensis


Interesting Facts


The squaretail mullet (Liza vaigiensis) is a member of the grey mullet (Mugilidae) family. What makes this family of fish interesting is that it has great value to be farmed and harvested as a source of human food, due to its collective abilities to grow quickly, eat a wide variety of food (Wijeyaratne and Costa 1990), and live comfortably in a wide range of temperatures (James et al. 1985). Furthermore, its ability to be stocked in brackish water environments makes the the Mugilidae family of fish an even more desirable choice for large scale human food sources around the world, in areas where brackish water is the most convenient environment available (Liao 1975). For this reason, a thriving industry of aquaculture revolves around the grey mullet (Chen et al. 1999).

Other organisms that are useful for aquacultural purposes include carp, catfish, salmon, talapia, and tuna. Also, red algae, brown algae, crabs and clams are popular. 

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Firgure 7.1 Graph of Global Production of Aquaculture presented by country.

Aquaculture is the controlled farming of organisms found in water, as opposed to the harvesting of wild fish. It’s like agriculture, but in water instead of on land. This is an interesting and lucrative business because it allows aquatic organisms to be grown and harvested for the purposes of food in a controlled manner, so that demands for seafood can be met without putting considerable strain on natural populations. Believe it or not, aquaculture is a massive industry worldwide, with the value of global net fish exports summing to over 100 billion US dollars in 2008 (World fish trade 2008). As human populations increase, it is logical to assume that dependence on aquaculture will increase as well.

Because some variation of the grey mullet can likely be found in abundance anywhere around the equator (regions that utilize the grey mullet for aquaculture include America’s south and the caribbean, the mediterranean, and the waters of Asia), this means that the grey mullet shall play an increasingly large role in the feeding of people worldwide. Aquaculture is growing particularly quickly in and around Asia, where the massive populations of people demand immense quantities of food. According to the World Food and Agriculture Organization, aquaculture production in Malaysia alone doubled its output from 2005 to 2010 (Malaysia aquaculture 2010). Because the grey mullet family of fish thrives in Asian waters, the taste of Liza vaigiensis and its relatives are very likely to be familiar to millions of hungry people. Furthermore, a plan for American aquaculture output to increase to a projected five times what it was in the year 2000 is underway (Naylor et al. 2001), so species of mullet that live in the western hemisphere, particularly the flathead or striped mullet (Mugil cephalus), are likely to gain prominence in American culinary culture as well.

In fact, the mullet already has a dedicated following in Florida, where thousands of Mugilidae aficionados come together to cumulatively consume up to four tons of the fish during the three day long annual Niceville Mullet Festival. describes the event, as well as the delicious quality of the fish it celebrates, more eloquently than I ever could, so I encourage you to follow this link!

20th Annual Gautier Mullet Festival in GautierFigure 7.2 Battering of mullet filets to feed the hungry people of the festival.

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