• The recommendation is to consume between two and four portions of fish per week.
• Spanish seniors consume about 33 kilos of fish per capita per year.
• In these times of quarantine, fishing activity is being seriously affected and many jobs are in danger, like in other sectors.
Durable goods are the kind of products which the majority of people have filled refrigerators and pantries for quarantine with one objective in mind to stay at home and leave as little as possible. However, in these days of confinement we can not forget something so fundamental in our diet as fish. Seniors are the largest consumers of this products (according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) which provides a lot of benefits for our health and we must not ignore it. We spoke with a nutritionist and with Javier Garat, Secretary General of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation to explain the options we have to eat fish during the quarantine.
“It is essential to eat between two and four portions of fish per week. For senior people is important to eat blue fish” It contains more fat than white (between 5% and 8%) and is very good source of Omega 3, which is essential because it exerts a cardiovascular protective effect” explains Emilio Galíndez, dietitian-nutritionist at the Gerocastillo polyclinic.
These recommended rations should not decrease during quarantine although we cannot go to the fish market frequently. “Buying them frozen or canned is a great alternative for these days. They can be accompanied by vegetables, rice or pasta to have a complete dish” says Galíndez.
The fish consumption curve in quarantine.
Although options exist, fish markets are experiencing a drop in sales due two main reasons. “The first days when the government decreed the state of alarm, the people went crazy to markets and supermarkets to buy fresh, frozen and canned fish, however after that moment, the break has been enormous” explain Javier Garat.
In part this is due, as the nutritionist explains, that being at home is more difficult to maintain eating routines. “We thought it was going to be a short time and people eat pizza one day, popcorn another day, cookies, ultra-processed food…and we have to think that the situation is going to be long and it is necessary to have a balance between eating food and caloric expenditure. In this situation, fish is a very good option. It is a practically not fattering but it is satiating. It is an option not to forget”:
This food is a rich source of protein, vitamins (especially group B) minerals such as calcium, iodine, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and zinc. In addition, it has a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In quarantine, what about the fishermen?
In addition to the decrease in fish consumption during the first time of confinement, the sector see another important problem, that of fishermen and how to maintain their safety while maintaining the supplies “ In Spain we have a highly diversified fleet, but whether due to health recommendations or the closing of borders and ports, it is difficult for us to continue working” explains the secretary of Cepesca.
For now, there is not a general decision on how to deal with this crisis. “The fishing that is done in our waters (inshore fishing) is the one that is experiencing the most problems. Boats are small, there are not individual protective equipment for each sailor, there are more and more complications. Furthermore, in some ports, activity has been stopped for not jeopardize the health of workers or their families” says Garat.
In the fishing that is carried outside our waters the problem comes at the moment of disembarking and being able to move the product “The companies are considering to do ERTES, the price of fish has fallen practically in half these days and it is very complicated to transport it” he says.
However, shortage of fish is not an option. As Garat explains in the video, for them, the fundamental thing is to distribute fish and seafood throughout the national territory so that these days you can continue consuming “the healthiest protein of animal origin”.
n animal más saludable”.