Nowadays, increasingly advanced production methods and constant implementation of new technologies applied to the conservation of marine food allow us to enjoy a wide variety of different products all year round. However, there are still preferred consumption periods for different species of fish and shellfish. As consumers, we should have a special interest in having a good knowledge of this seasonality when going to the market, both to recognize from the outset what the fresh seasonal products are and get a better price and quality in the purchase process, thus avoiding being victims of misinformation or simple deceptions by ‘too savvy’ sellers. Depending on each season there are species of fish that have higher availability, and it is precisely at that time when their price fits best our wallet and their nutritional quality is also higher. That is to say: when the season of a certain marine product has come, it is easier for us to find it in the market -for which, of course, its price is lower- and, above all, the product itself is of much higher quality.
In the case of shellfish, we must keep in mind that this seasonal calendar is, if anything, even more important, since commercial fishing restrictions for many of these animals are very strictly limited, because of species biological cycle and the shortage of some of them –persistent or exceptional-, caused, in most cases, by over-exploitation. Besides, we had better not forget the central role often played by seafood in the growing industry of haute cuisine, which always demands the highest quality of raw materials.
While this availability is usually determined by the own characteristics and reproductive cycles of each type of seafood, some species -such as shrimps and crayfish- are abundant all year round, so it is never difficult to get good quality products in the market, regardless of the month or the specific climate of each time. Other products, instead, can only be obtained within sporadic periods of time during the year, as in the case of barnacles or cuttlefish. In short, we must be full aware that nature needs to rest in order to bear fruit, and sea fruit do not escape this rule. Respecting life cycles of marine ecosystems, on the part of the fishing industry, and always considering which products correspond to each season, by consumers, are both absolutely essential factors in a process which, lest we forget, benefits us all.