Florida Seafood Products
Beautiful, powerful, and delicious to eat, mahi-mahi (Cotyphaena hippurus), also known as dolphinfish or dorado, is one of Florida’s most popular game fish. It’s also a well-loved food fish, a staple at seafood markets and restaurants around the state. Mahi-mahi is available year round, but May, June, and July are the months of peak availability.
Brilliantly colored, with an iridescent bluish green and gold body, golden yellow fins, and a golden tail, mahi-mahi is a striking fish to see. Males and females have similar coloring, but the male’s head profile is very rounded, whereas the female’s head slopes down to the mouth.
Mahi-mahi is a strong swimmer, capable of swimming up to 50 miles an hour. It’s acrobatic, too, and sport fishermen relish the way it jumps and fights when hooked.
Mahi-mahi grows quickly. It can reach a weight of 30 pounds or more, but its lifespan is usually less than five years. Mahi-mahi is fast growing and quick to mature; it’s also a prolific breeder. These qualities make it more resistant to overfishing than many other popular fish species.
Mahi-mahi are found around the world in temperate, subtropical, and tropical waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. They are known to congregate offshore under floating debris or masses of sargasso weed, where they feed on small fish, shrimp, squid, and crabs. Their spawning season extends from late spring through early summer. Most Florida mahi-mahi are harvested in Bay and Monroe counties, and the preferred fishing method is hook and line.
When shopping for mahi-mahi, look for firm pink meat with a fresh sea-breeze aroma and no discoloration. Store fresh mahi-mahi in the coldest part of the refrigerator at 32 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two days. To freeze, wrap tightly to prevent freezer burn. Date the package and store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator or under cold running water.
Mahi-mahi fillets have a deep pink center stripe that darkens when cooked. Trim the stripe before cooking to maintain the fillet’s appealing light color. Versatile mahi-mahi can be baked, broiled, sautéed, grilled, poached, pan fried, or deep fried. Cook mahi-mahi at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Be careful not to overcook. Mahi-mahi is done when the meat turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
Mahi-mahi is firm textured, dense, and moist, with a moderate, slightly sweet flavor. It’s an extra lean fish. A four-ounce serving contains 100 calories, 22 grams of protein, and only one gram of fat.
A note on common names: Though mahi-mahi is sometimes referred to as dolphinfish, it is not related to the mammals known as dolphins. Mahi-mahi is a Hawaiian name that means “very strong” and refers to the fish’s strong swimming abilities.
More About Mahi-Mahi
- DACS-P-01423 Mahi-Mahi Recipes Brochure, English (PDF)
- DACS-P-01414 Florida Seafood Healthy Facts Brochure (PDF)
- DACS-P-01549 Florida Seafood Buying Guide (PDF)
Contact Us About Seafood Products
Division of Marketing and Development
Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing
The Collins Building, Innovation Park
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32310
(850) 617-7281 Fax