In many people’s minds, hake comes from the north, prawns from Huelva or Arenys, langoustines from Sant Carles de la Ràpita, clams from Carril and eels from Aguinaga. Leaving exorbitant prices aside, the seafood products that Catalans, Spanish and Europeans eat come from all over the world. The Seafood show, held at Gran Via venue, made this very clear and illustrated, once again, the economic importance of the sector and the crucial role that seafood plays in our diets.
Looking at the data from the popular Mercat del Peix (fish market) in Barcelona, you can choose from around one thousand varieties of fish and shellfish, fresh or frozen, from all over the world: half the fish we eat is imported; 18% is caught off the Catalan coast, within what we refer to as Km0 or very close to the coast, while the remaining 23% is caught in other Spanish waters. This is without counting the growing importance of fish farming: 40% of the fish sold in Spain now comes from this reproduction technique, making it possible to eat species that were once prohibitively expensive on a regular basis.
But even in the hinterland of Catalonia there are surprises. In contrast to what many people assume – or used to assume – the fishing fleet based in the Port of Barcelona catches more than those of Roses, Cambrils or Arenys.
Yet beyond the democratization of certain types of products and their origin, when it comes to children they usually have the same reaction to fish as they do to vegetables. There’s a certain lack of enthusiasm in choosing a nice fish fillet in preference to a burger, even though experts assure us that every euro invested in eating fish, with all its nutritional properties and indispensable role in a healthy, balanced diet, will result in a 10 euro saving on the healthcare bill within ten years.
Thanks to new awareness-raising campaigns, this is a message that society is increasingly taking on board and also opens up new business opportunities. Seafood Expo Southern Europe has no doubt about it.