RASS Records

Striped red mullet in the North East Atlantic, Gillnet

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Content Last Updated
26 November 2015

Striped red mullet (Mullus surmuletus) is a benthic roundfish found on muddy or sandy habitat up to 100 meters in depth that feeds on crustaceans and molluscs. It is located along the European coasts from southern Norway and the Faroe Islands in the North, to the Strait of Gibraltar in the South (Davis and Edward, 1988; Gibson and Robb, 1997). The species is also found in the northern part of western Africa and in the Mediterranean and Black Seas (Quéro and Vayne, 1997).

Striped red mullet are found in their highest population abundances at elevated temperatures (ICES, 2007), and tolerate low and high salinities during their juvenile and adult life history stages, respectively. Some nursery areas have been located in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc and around the Falklands coasts (Morizur et al., 1996), and surveys in the English Channel identified that sexual maturity was reached at 16.2 cm and 16.7 cm in length for males and females, respectively (Mahé et al., 2005).


Most landings are taken from Sub-area VII and VIII, especially by French vessels. No quantitative information on discard rates of striped red mullet are available. Limited information is available on the life history of this data-limited species (ICES, 2014).



Davis, P.S. and Edward, A.J. 1988. New records of fishes from the northeast coast of England, with notes on the rediscovery of part of the type collection of marine fishes from the Dove Marine Laboratory, Cullercoats. Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Northumbria 55: 39–46.


Gibson, R.N. and Robb, L. 1997. Occurrence of juvenile red mullet (Mullus surmuletus) on the west coast of Scotland. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 77(3): 911–912.


ICES. 2007. Report of the Working Group on Fish Ecology (WGFE), 5–9 March 2007, Nantes, France. ICES CM 2007/LRC:03. 217 pp.


ICES. 2014. Report of the Working Group on Assessment of New MoU Species (WGNEW), 24–28 March 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2014/ACOM:21. 162 pp.


Mahé K., Destombes A., Coppin F., Koubbi P., Vaz S., Leroy D. and Carpentier A. 2005. Le rouget barbet de roche Mullus surmuletus (L. 1758) en Manche orientale et mer du Nord, 186pp.


Morizur, Y., S. Pouvreau and A. Guénolé. 1996. Les rejets dans la pêche artisanale française de Manche occidentale. Editions Ifremer, 127 pp.


Quéro, J.C. and Vayne, J.J. 1997. Les poissons de mer des pêches françaises. Ifremer, Ed. Dela-chaux and Niestlé, 304pp.

The status of the striped red mullet stock in the Northeast Atlantic (Divisions VIIa-c, Sub-area VIII and Division IXa) has been scored a high risk. This is because the species has moderate resilience to fishing exploitation (FishBase, 2015) but the population trend is unknown due to the limited information available for this data-limited stock.



Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2015. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2015).

The management of striped red mullet stock in the Northeast Atlantic (Divisions VIIa-c, Sub-area VIII and Division IXa) has been scored a high risk. This is because no formal stock assessment has been conducted to inform management decisions, limited biological information is available and no specific management measures have been established to restrict harvesting. Available data are too limited to develop any form of management controls to adjust fishing opportunities on the stock, but there are management measures put in place to control effort in the fisheries.

The bycatch risk of this fishery has been scored a moderate risk. This is because there is a risk of bycatches of non-target species including cetaceans in the fisheries in some areas, and there has been limited monitoring and no estimates of the effects on populations or technical measures introduced to prevent catches. The EU landings obligation is intended to reduce discarding of TAC species over the period up to 2020 and technical measures are being developed to reduce incidental catches of protected, endangered and threatened (PET) species. EU regulations specify the use of acoustic deterrents on gillnets, depending on the area, to reduce bycatch.

The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a very low risk. This is because set gillnets have relatively little impact on the seabed compared to other fishing activities. Lost or abandoned gillnets can get entangled on habitat features and weights can cause surface penetration of the seabed. Gillnets interact with the seabed, but significant interaction with vulnerable marine habitats is unlikely. Some spatial management is in place to protect vulnerable marine habitats.

TypeCurrent Risk StatusOutlookReason
StockHigh Unknown The status of the stock in the future remains unclear. Although the species has moderate resilience to fishing exploitation, the population trend is unknown and therefore no definitive conclusions can be drawn.
ManagementHigh Stable The management of the stock is likely to remain stable in the future. The EU Common Fisheries Policy is going through reform and there is some uncertainty on how this will impact fisheries management in this area.
BycatchModerate Stable Bycatch levels are likely to remain stable in the future. There is a risk of cetacean capture and no indication of the effects on cetacean populations. The EU landings obligation is intended to reduce discarding of managed species over the period up to 2020.
HabitatLow Stable The habitat impacts of the fishery are likely to remain stable in the future. Technical and spatial management measures are continuously under development and will potentially reduce the risk further.

Nutrition information from 100g raw product

Rich in:
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Good Source Of:
Vitamin D
109 (kcal)
3.8 (g)
No data
No data%
0 (g)
0 (g)