What’s a Mullet Toss? 5 Things to Throw Instead of Fish

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Wait—there are events in which folks fling fish corpses for fun?! On April 22, PETA sent a letter to John McInnis III, co-owner of The Flora-Bama Lounge, Package, & Oyster Bar, urging him to bring a wave of fintastic compassion to this year’s Flora-Bama Mullet Toss by replacing the dead fish typically tossed across state lines with realistic, reusable rubber ones donated by PETA.

We also offered to cater the mullet toss with tasty vegan fish sandwiches, which spare animals a violent death and don’t contain the mercury, iodine, sewage, and other contaminants often found inside real fish.

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The Morbid Mullet Toss

The Flora-Bama Lounge has hosted the mullet toss since 1985. The event involves individuals on a beach throwing a mullet—a fish indigenous to the Gulf Coast—from a 10-foot circle in Florida across the state line into Alabama. By tossing fish corpses for fun, the participants of the morbid event, along with its organizers, disrespect other animals and rob them of their dignity.

Here are five things that could be thrown instead of fish at any “mullet” toss:

  1. Fresh, biodegradable flowers
  2. Small clumps of seaweed
  3. Retrievable beach toys
  4. Oneself (Leaping safely into the water!)
  5. Reusable, fake fish (our original suggestion)
Giant PETA U.K. 'Fish' and 'Lobster' Proclaim, 'Sea Life, Not Seafood'
To denounce National Seafood Week (October 4 to 11), protesters “caught” in fishing nets asked Londoners to protect aquatic animals of all kinds by going vegan.

In 2018, PETA commended the Gulfport Historical Society board for unanimously voting to use weighted plastic fish instead of the dead bodies of real ones at its mullet toss—setting a clear example for other similar events to make the kind switch.

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Why Fish Should Never Be Tossed or Eaten

Studies show that fish can recognize themselves in mirrors and photographs, are self-aware, and communicate with each other using complex sounds. Every fish whose body is treated like a hacky sack at the mullet toss is an individual who had a life precious to them, swam free, had feelings, and didn’t want to die. PETA hopes to modernize the moment with fabulous fake fish that cause no harm and can be reused for years.

“We’re not here to confishcate the fun: Throwing a rubber or plastic fish, rather than a dead one, would be as fun, challenging, and enjoyable but also positive. A first-ever fish-friendly fling could even lure our mascot Freeda Fish to line up to get in on the act. Will you please mullet over?”

—PETA President Ingrid Newkirk

Freeda Fish mascot at a PETA fishing demonstration

Using dead fish—or any animal, dead or alive—for entertainment or food perpetuates speciesism and the climate catastrophe, yet fake fish can be reused for years. If the organizers of the Flora-Bama Mullet Toss agree to make the humane switch, PETA hopes the free vegan fish sandwiches we would hand out to participants would also help increase awareness and compassion.

Humans kill more fish for food each year than all other animals combined. They slowly suffocate or are crushed to death when they’re yanked out of the oceans in huge nets, and workers cut open survivors’ stomachs on fishing boats while they’re still alive. Every person who goes vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 aquatic animals and other sentient beings each year. And buying or making vegan seafood is simple and fun.

Two fish friends

Ditch the Mullet Toss and Take Action

Go vegan, try trash fishing, and never participate in or support events that use other animals or their corpses as props for entertainment. Dive into our delectable vegan seafood recipes:

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