Ever noticed how certain seafood might taste different throughout the year? Or how the prices on your favorite seafood fluctuate? Just like fresh produce, seafood is seasonal and we should strive to purchase our favorite seafoods in the right season, at peak flavor. The better pricing is an added bonus!
Though it might seem counterintuitive, seafood's seasonality is not exactly dependent on climatic conditions. Rather, it is when the species becomes the most abundant in their environment. There are several essential factors that affect seasonality. Overall consumption habits and catching are key when predicting the precise seasonality of a certain species. It’s the reasoning behind why certain states have restrictive laws over what you can fish for and consume. Migration in and out of populations also greatly affect the abundance of a certain species in their environment, and weather conditions are the driving force behind migration. In colder, frigid weather, an environment’s barometric pressure is reduced and the metabolism of marine species across the food chain slows. In contrast, warmer weather strengthens the seafood. In this season, they are more active and comfortable in their environment. Thus, it is easier to maintain an abundant supply.
Purchasing seafood in-season is essential to the health of the marine ecosystem and it is beneficial for consumers as well. It provides an abundance of favorites at maximum freshness for a more affordable price. When buying seafood out-of-season, consumers often have to make up for higher transportation rates and the products often have to be shipped further distances which likely involves many cycles of freezing and thawing. Additionally, buying out-of-season seafood means consuming it past its prime. Most importantly, sustainability is affected. If seafood is harvested during the spawning season–in which species have reached their highest potential for fertilization and sexual maturity– the possibilities of future abundance is severely diminished. Purchasing seafood in-season allows sea life populations to naturally replenish. Considering the seasonality of seafood is essential to its availability, flavor, freshness, and cost effectiveness. With a better understanding of seasonality, you can rightly enjoy every bite of your favorite seafood dishes.
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