In South Australia, where the end of the Murray and Darling River systems converge, lies the Coorong National Park and adjacent lakes. This is a world famous wetlands of international significance, home to millions of migratory birds and freshwater and saltwater fish. It is one of Australia’s most unique and beautiful wilderness areas. Our endorsed Yellow Eye Mullet (YEM) is wild caught here.
An individual YEM is an unremarkable 20-40cm fish. But YEM’s collective behaviour is spectacular as they swarm in huge numbers, creating vast formations and attracting predators from the sky and water. Coorong fishers report citing a YEM schooling wall of up to 4km long
One fish can spawn as many as 680,000 tiny free-floating eggs, most of which are female. They live up to 7 years, but their prolific breeding makes YEM a more sustainable choice.
YEM is the most common mullet in South Australia, and is an important food source for aquatic predators and humans alike.
The Coorong fishery uses low impact fishing methods and has an ecosystem based focus. The fishery was recognised nationally and internationally for it’s world first Environmental Management Plan in 1998.
50 metre Gill nets hangs vertically in the water and fish swim into the nets. This is a passive fishing device without the use of bait or attractants. It requires skill, experience and understanding of the water conditions, weather, wind, fish personality and movements, seasons and moon phases. It is an entirely manual harvest, with no mechanical devices or chance for machine error.
Adding to the challenges, seals are increasingly poaching the mullet caught in the nets, leaving half eaten fish in the nest and destroying nets.
Harvested with care and iced immediately ensures fish are rendered unconscious in seconds. This reduces resistance, lactic acid and maintains glucose in the flesh. This enhances the fish’s delicate texture and sweet flavour, as well as contributing to a longer shelf life.
The water in the Coorong can up to 3 times as salty as the ocean, and has a weed-based sediment rather than rock base, both of which contribute to a really tasty fish.
Strong distinctive flavour. Mullets have a seasonally high oil content and are high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids. It is higher during their migration from April and May, leading up to spawning. The caviar is very precious and much sought after.
Much to the surprise of fishermen, chef and crew we tested sashimi mullet and found it tastes remarkably like delicate flesh oyster.