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Old 05-14-2013, 07:12 AM   #1
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When is fish or shellfish "In Season?"

I garden, and eat veggies "In Season".. ie. winter veggies in winter, etc.

is there certain Seasons for fish also?

I've heard the whole "eat oysters in months with an R", and wondered about other fish.

I bought some Halibut the other day. it was on sale and was excelent, and my fish monger said "it's halibut season now"

Cool, Eric, Austin Tx.

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Old 05-14-2013, 07:20 AM   #2
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As a general statement, "season" when it comes to fish refers to the time period it is legal to harvest. Closed season is to allow for the fishery to recover. Without the closed seasons, the fishery will be devastated and possibly become none existant. Ask Haiti and Jamaica what happens if you just keep harvesting.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:28 AM   #3
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Some types of seafood have limits, others have physical characteristics that only take place seasonally -- like soft shell crabs. Some people claim lobster is best in the early summer.

The oyster thing was more about refrigerated transportation and is no longer true.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:45 AM   #4
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Europe and USA Atlantic Coast:
Sardines: April - Mid July
Bonito (Tuna Fish): Spring-Summer, better from June to October
Scallops: November-February
Cod: April-September
Sea Bass: Winter
Crab: November-March

Shellfish: month with R (September-April), but in general, only eat them in cold months.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:04 AM   #5
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The "month with R" thing is no longer a valid concern.

Its fine to eat shellfish year round.

Cod is also fished and eaten year round
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Some types of seafood have limits, others have physical characteristics that only take place seasonally -- like soft shell crabs. Some people claim lobster is best in the early summer.

The oyster thing was more about refrigerated transportation and is no longer true.
Summer lobster is the worst time to eat them. The shells are soft or have just been molted. Thus the meat is very watery. The colder the water, the harder the shell and less watery. It may been harder to crack the shell, but the meat is more hardier. The same goes for shrimp.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:14 PM   #7
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I do not agree with you, Jennyema.
I used to eat every fish my supermarket was selling, till I went to live in a fishing place.
My neighbors are all fishermen and I learned from them fish has seasons, the same way fruit has.
Yes, cod could be OK all year round, but you cannot eat sardines in winter, for example. Yes, sardines are in the supermarkets in December but...the taste isn't the right one.
About the R rule for shellfish, it's a safety rule. Since we mainly eat shellfish raw, it's better to avoid them in summer.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:35 PM   #8
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the shellfish rule came about because of red tide. Red tide is cause by an algae, or phytoplankton bloom in the sea. Toxins, and lack of oxygen are byproducts of red tide. Shellfish are bivalves, and feed by filtering plankton and phytoplankton from the water. They absorb the toxins of those micro critters, making them dangerous for consumption during those times of red tide. This is the reason for eating shellfish in the cold months. There was, and is a real reason to follow this rule.

Today, shellfish is often harvested during safe times, and frozen, then made available year round. In addition, shellfish are farmed, again isolating them from natural phenomena such as red tide. And they too are made available year round. Just remember that wild-caught shellfish has a safe season.

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Old 05-14-2013, 01:00 PM   #9
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Chief, I have lived right on the Atlantic or with walking distance of the ocean all my life. I was married to a commercial fisheman/shrimper. My first husband was a pro chef on oil tankers for years. And the Red Tide does not occur every year. Farmed shellfish are farmed far enough out to sea so that the Red Tide does not affect them. But you can taste the difference from wild caught. Inbreeding just like any other living organism affects the outcome of the product. Taste wild salmon and then farm raised. Even the color of the meat is deeper and redder than farmed salmon. And the "R" thing for oysters has more to do with refrigeration than anything else. The oysters are growing new shells in the summer and are hardier and tasitier in the winter months. Shellfish are just softer and mushier in the summer. The same goes for scallops, lobsters, clams, shrimp etc. I am not sure what time low tide is tomorrow. But if I go by there at that time, I will see all the clam diggers out there in the clam beds. In a couple of weeks, they will stop clamming and give the shellfish a chance to grow.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:28 PM   #10
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soft shell crab season is nearly here. in about a month or so.

and while harder shell lobsters taste better, i don't mind eating the softer shelled summer ones. the meat is easier to get to, and they're a few dollars less per pound so you get to eat more.

and the months with an r thing had to do mostly with refrigeration, or lack thereof years ago. while yes, there are red tides during the summer, any fishmonger would know about a bloom and stop selling the affected species. otherwise, we enjoy oysters all summer. besides, oysters can come from all over. from canada (pei malpeques), to new york (blue points), washington state (hama hama), france (belon), and japan/north pacific (kumamoto).

i doubt all of them are affected by blooms at the same time.
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