Of all the Caspian Sea Beluga caviar substitutes that have hit the market in the 21st Century, is mullet roe caviar the most environmentally sustainable?
By: Ringo Bones
If worldwide fishing quotas in tropical and subtropical waters are strictly enforced, mullet roe caviar could become the most environmentally sustainable source of Caspian Sea Beluga caviar substitute. Not just environmentally friendly due to its better fecundity than the Caspian Sea Beluga sturgeon, the mullet roe caviar is also probably the most popular kind of Beluga caviar substitute in the world’s haute cuisine scene in the form of Karasumi – a Taiwanese Caspian Sea Beluga caviar substitute often sold in Japanese sushi restaurants that's derived from mullet roe.
Mullet are a small fish of the genus Mugil of world-wide occurrence in tropical and subtropical waters. Both fresh and salt water species are known while the salt water species are numerous along the Atlantic coasts of North America and South America. Mullets have small teeth and feed on vegetation on the bottom. They run in very large schools in which individual fish keep jumping, sometimes clearing the water by up to 3-feet. These huge schools move southward in autumn and immense commercial catches are sometimes made. One catch batch weighing 60,000 pounds was taken in a single net haul. About 37-million pounds worth of mullet are fished annually. Compared to other commercial fish, mullets are relatively low priced and are usually sold fresh. The striped mullet – scientific name Mugil cephalus – are common in both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and reaches a length of 2-feet.