According to Wilf Swartz, Nereus Program Manager/Research Associate, “The reality is not that seafood lacks seasonality. In fact, as one of the few remaining, large-scale forms of hunting wild foods, marine fisheries are, without doubt, more susceptible to seasonal variations in productivity than other major food sources. We’ve simply found it convenient to overlook that fact for a number of reasons.”
“Fish stocks migrate in and out of local fishing grounds. Sometimes they are locally plentiful, and sometimes they are not. During the spawning season, a fish’s body chemistry changes, e.g. fat content declines, and consequently for the consumer, flavour differs throughout the year. However, with the advancement of freezing technology and the expansion of global distribution networks, retail markets are now able to supply select species (and their close substitutes) throughout the year from all corners of the world. This, in effect, masks seasonal variations in local fisheries. Our seafood consumption has gone from “fish of the day” to “fish of whenever” and doesn’t take its bearing from the season.”
Ocean Wise provides a chart outlining the seasonality of ocean-friendly seafood. (see www.oceanwisecanada.org). Look for the Ocean Wise symbol on menus to confirm the seafood being served is sustainably caught.
The seasonality of most of these seafood species varies from year to year. Most species are also available frozen year round.
Spring into Fall – B.C. and Alaskan sockeye salmon is available from May through the end of September. Pacific halibut is available from mid-April through mid-November.
Spring into summer – B.C. Spot prawn is available in May and June.
Summer – Chinook salmon from B.C. and Alaska is available from mid-June to the end of August. Pink salmon is available in July and August.
Summer into fall – Coho and Chum salmon from B.C. and Alaska is available from July to the end of October. Striped Bass from Massachusetts is available in July through to mid-September. Rock Crab from Belle River, PEI is available from August through to mid-November.
Spring into winter – Albacore tuna from the North Pacific is available from mid-May through to the end of December. Swordfish is available from mid-April through mid-December.
Winter into spring – Albacore Tuna from the South Pacific from January to the end of April.
All year – Sable fish from B.C. is available all year.