Spain promotes fish consumption with public culinary events this summer

The Spanish government is aiming to boost seafood consumption, in response to significant declines seen in consumer purchases over the past 15 years.
Fresh seafood at La Boqueria market in Barcelona, Spain.

Fresh seafood at La Boqueria market in Barcelona, Spain.

Photo: Ekaterina Belova / Adobe Stock.

Spain's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food is aiming to tackle the significant decline in seafood purchases by Spanish consumers over the past 15 years, with the launch of a series of promotional activities to boost fish and seafood consumption across the country.

The initiative, part of the Alimentos de España (Foods of Spain) strategy, will see gastronomic events featuring fish and seafood taking place in culinary schools, municipal markets, and Paradors, the network of state-run hotels housed in historic buildings.

The campaign, Un país infinito en productos del mar y recetas (A country infinite in seafood products and recipes), aims to raise awareness about the importance of seafood consumption and the sustainability of fish and shellfish production.

Events scheduled for June at Paradors in Lerma (Burgos), Soria, Alcañiz (Teruel), and Cuenca (Castilla-La Mancha), feature fish products from Mediterranean and Cantabrian fishing guilds prepared by top Parador chefs, highlighting the variety and richness of Spanish seafood. Participating guilds include those from Calpe, Santa Pola (Alicante), Gandía (Valencia), Vinaroz (Castellón), Portosín (La Coruña), Luarca (Asturias), and Colindres (Cantabria).

Educational events were also previously held in May at culinary schools and markets in Burgos, Zaragoza, and Teruel, teaching students and consumers new fish recipe preparations and how to differentiate between products.

These initiatives are part of a broader effort to enhance appreciation for the fishing profession, in addition to promoting fish and seafood as "one of the best sources of protein in the human diet", the Ministry said in a press announcement.

Aiming to halt the downward trend in Spanish seafood consumption

In 2023, Spain registered its lowest volume of fish and seafood purchases since 2008, with a cumulative decrease of 34.4% in purchases over the previous 15 years, according to government data.

All segments have seen a decline in purchases except for canned fish and shellfish, which have remained stable since 2022 and have grown by 5.5% since 2008.

The most significant declines were in shellfish, molluscs, and crustaceans, with reductions of 48.5% in fresh and 40.8% in frozen since 2022. Fresh fish purchases also decreased by 38.9%, and frozen fish by 40.1%. However, the unfavourable trend in frozen fish purchases was offset by an increase in value for this segment of 2.3%.

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