North Carolina Sea Grant

October 16, 2009 | Barry Nash

north carolina fisheries

Dolphinfish, commonly called mahi mahi (meaning “strong strong” in Polynesian), are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world.  Dolphinfish are not related to dolphin the mammal.  Dolphinfish have a short life span, living no longer than five years.  Males typically outlive females.  Dolphinfish are non-selective, predatory foragers that feed on species such as jellyfish, octopus, squid, and the juvenile triggerfish, tunas, billfish, and jacks.

In the Atlantic, dolphinfish are attracted to Sargassum, a floating brown alga, which serves as a hiding place and source of food.  They spawn under the Sargassum patches during June and July in the Gulf Stream near North Carolina.

Dolphinfish are low in saturated fat and are a good source of vitamin B12, phosphorus, and potassium and a very good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Dolphinfish from Maine to Florida are managed through the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s (SAFMC), Dolphin Wahoo Fishery of the Atlantic Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in cooperation with the Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils.  For more information on this species, visit

Contributed by Barry Nash

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