On August 25th, Sanibel Sea School hosted a community screening of WGCU Public Media’s Mullet: A Tale of Two Fish, a documentary about the history and future of mullet fisheries in Florida.
Guests enjoyed mullet hors d’oeuvres prepared by Sweet Melissa’s Café, including crackers with mullet dip, cucumber slices topped with goat cheese and smoked mullet, and mullet fritters with a side of dill aioli. Megan Duncan, a marine educator at the Sea School, had never tasted this fish before. “It was really delicious,” she said. “I’m even bringing some leftovers home for my family to try.”
The film screening was followed by a panel discussion, and attendees were invited to ask questions and participate in the conversation. Expert panelists included Dr. Justin Grubich, a fisheries scientist and policy adviser employed by the PEW Charitable Trusts, Oscar Gavin, a longtime Sanibel resident who has caught mullet to feed his family for many decades, Ralph Woodring, a commercial mullet fisherman and lifetime member of the Sanibel community, Jonas Gutierrez, a commercial fisherman who caught the mullet served at the event, and John Talmage, an economist and restaurateur (owner of Sweet Melissa’s and Island Pizza).
“Our ultimate goal in planning this event was to help the local community understand that Florida’s sustainable seafood fisheries have huge potential for growth,” said Dr. Bruce Neill, Sanibel Sea School’s Executive Director. “Let’s embrace delicious, sustainable species like mullet – caught right here in San Carlos Bay – instead of importing grouper and other popular seafood items from abroad. This supports our local economy and is far better for the planet.”
Participants also engaged in a passionate conversation about our local water quality issues, how they could impact local fisheries, and what we can do as a community to improve the situation.
A big thank you to all who attended, and to WGCU Public Media, Sweet Melissa’s Café, panel moderator Joy Hazell, and our panelists for making this event possible. Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit. For more information, visit www.sanibelseaschool.org.