Yellow-eyed Mullet

Yellow-eyed Mullet: Quick Facts

Scientific name: Aldrichetta forsteri

Other names: aua, kaataha, kataka, makawhiti (Maori), herring, yelloweye mullet (Australia)

Ranking: D (Amber - Concerns)

Best Fish Guide: Yellow-eyed Mullet

 Ranking: D (Amber - Concerns)

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Alternative Choice: Best option, no alternative

Top NZ Chef, Al Brown's Puspa and Magan’s Sauteed Masala Herrings

Description:  This relatively short-lived surface dwelling, coastal species is found throughout New Zealand, but is most abundant in northern waters. It is smaller and more slender than grey mullet, forming schools in shallow coastal waters, harbours and estuaries. It is caught using set nets or by beach seining.


Ecological concerns: The absence of some basic biological information on yellow-eyed mullet, the absence of a quantitative stock assessment and so the unknown stock size and sustainability of recent catch levels (especially in combination with non-commercial take of this species). There is also concern about the uncertainty over stock boundaries and the likelihood of sub-stocks being managed together within quota areas, plus the absence of a management plan. Set net fisheries can have considerable non-target fish bycatch. In the past this fishery has posed a serious threat to critically endangered Maui’s dolphins. Set netting also risks capture of other marine mammals and seabirds. Restrictions on set netting off the west coast of the North Island introduced in 2003 and again in May 2008 have reduced this risk, but set netting still poses a threat outside these areas. Pending a high court ruling on a challenge to the restrictions, the risk to Maui’s dolphins may return. 

Economic value: Yellow-eyed mullet are sold in New Zealand and Australia.

Best option: Mullet caught by beach seining.


Biology and risk of overfishing (score A)
Status and sustainability of fish catches (score D)
Impact of fishing method and protected, threatened and endangered species captures (score D and B)
Management and management unit (score D and B)

For a full ecological assessment, click here