Seafood! What exactly is that word describing to a reader? Well, the dictionary says that seafood is any sea animal or even seaweed that is served up as a meal. This includes mollusk and any shell fish and can be any animal that either is fished from the sea or from fresh water. Seaweed is classed as seafood but is common as a vegetable. The fishing of this life form is also known as mariculture

Many parts of the world live off large diets of fish, but the country with the highest consumption of fish is Spanish with almost every Spaniard eating in excess of about 70 pounds of fish in a year according to a survey done in 2001… It was found that in the rest of the EU the public consumed about 15 pounds of fish in a year. The Spanish have an absolute love affair with fish. If one considers the phenomenon one will perceive that Spain is surrounded on three sides by water…and almost every person who lives along the coast has at some point done some fishing. Going as far back as Roman times the Romans had reserves where fish were dried on the Iberian Peninsular

Seafood is a dietary mainstay for a populace with a long seafaring tradition. Like rice is a staple diet in the East, fish is a staple diet in Spain. This HEALTHY DIET may be the reason for a good life expectancy in this country. Spanish cooks prepare 1.7 million tons of seafood a year, ensuring Spain’s top seafood consumer status in the European Union, following only by Japan worldwide. Per capita consumption in Spain weighs in at an impressive 42.6 kilograms, compared to 6.7 in the United States in 1996. Awesome!!

Research into population trends of various species of seafood is pointing to a global collapse of seafood species by 2048. Many whaling companies are on the verge of collapse, but still exist due to monitoring from astute protective organisations. Such a collapse in the fishing industry would occur due to pollution and over fishing, threatening oceanic ecosystems, according to some researchers.. The FAO State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2004 report estimates that in 2003, of the main fish stocks or groups of resources for which assessment information is available, “approximately one-quarter were overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion (16%, 7% and 1% respectively) and needed rebuilding, MOST URGENTLY.

Advocacy organizations such as the National Fisheries Institute, however, disagree with such findings and assert that currently observed declines in fish population are due to natural fluctuations and that enhanced technologies will eventually alleviate whatever impact humanity is having on oceanic life. Global warming issues have come to the fore of late and the consistent beaching of fish types world wide is a worry to all.

Seafood Watch is a program designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from well known and reputable sustainable sources. It is best known for publishing consumer guides for responsible seafood purchasing in the United States. Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and is a part of the Seafood Choices Alliance. Similar programs can be found in most countries. Seafood Watch has its roots in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Fishing for Solutions exhibition which ran from 1997 to 1999 and produced a list of sustainable seafood. It was one of the first resources for sustainable seafood information together with the Audubon Society’s ‘What is a Fish Lover to Eat?’, which also came out in the late 1990s.

Recommended seafood includes Sardines, US-farmed Sturgeon (but not caught wild), Atlantic Croaker, Pacific Halibut, Wreck fish, White Sea bass and Dungeness Crab. Restaurants and retailers are also targeted with an educational program developed by Seafood Watch.

Spain’s total annual catch has been declining since 1987 because of lower fish stocks that have led to limits on catches in international waters. Agreements with Morocco and Mauritania and Spain’s full integration into the European Union (EU) Common Fisheries Policy will continue to curtail raw fish and seafood availability.

Spain’s principal catch consists of- blue fish, hake, whiting, codfish, tuna and those tentacled denizens of the deep known as cephalopods (such as squid and octopus). With regards to fish, Spanish vessels caught 1.4 million metric tons. Further declines are expected in the next few years. Sardines, hake, salmon, megrim (flatfish or white sole) and anchovies made up most of the fresh imports. Frozen imported species include hake, tuna, sole, mackerel and sardines.

In an effort to circumvent their restricted catch allowances, Spain’s fish companies have jumped headlong into interesting joint ventures. The Spanish partner provides the boat, the expertise and up to half of the crew. The other partner provides the license to catch in international waters and the rest of the crew. The home office of the joint venture company is located in the partner’s country. Catches are unloaded in Spain and appear in the Spanish statistics as imports. Companies that participate in these ventures are concentrated in the United Kingdom, Argentina and Chile. Two relatively easy promotional undertakings–with surprisingly broad impacts–are available to exporters in Spain: an informational booth at MercaMadrid, Madrid’s main seafood distribution center and trade delegation visits to importers of frozen seafood in Vigo, Galicia. MercaMadrid, where the lion’s share of Madrid’s fish is distributed, marketed over 170,000 tons of seafood products. Most distributors and retailers source their product from this market.

Here’s what sells at the market:
Frozen Fish – Shellfish – Fresh Fish
Anchovies – Hake – Whiting
Sardine – Megrim – Salmon
Trout – Codfish – Sole
Bream – Squid – Hake
Shrimp – Prawn – Whiting
Octopus – Sole – Short-fin squid
Codfish – Bream – Mussel
Littleneck clams – Shrimp – Crab
Clam – Swimming crab – Periwinkle
Oyster – Snails – Edible crab

California market squid, or Loligo opalescent, is one of the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. seafood export market. Available canned, in its own ink or tomato sauce, and fresh or frozen, the eight-armed California delicacy is showing up on dinner plates from Baja to Barcelona.