Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Marine Science => Topic started by: GlentoranMark on 23/05/2011 12:30:02

Title: Should you collect shellfish between September and April?
Post by: GlentoranMark on 23/05/2011 12:30:02
Mark asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris and team, love the show (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/).

Anyway, I love collecting shellfish, cockles, mussels etc. but there is an old wives tale that says you shouldn't collect any shellfish with an "R" in the month (September to April.)

Is there any truth in the wives tale? Do shellfish have a breeding season? And how do farmed shellfish manufacturers get round the problem if there is one?

Many thanks,

Mark

What do you think?
Title: Re: Should you collect shellfish between September and April?
Post by: zx16 on 17/01/2017 18:56:52
Isn't the advice about shellfish now out-dated? Surely the invention of the domestic refrigerator has changed things.  Can't shellfish such as cockles and mussels be kept deep-frozen for months at home, before consumption?


I have never personally eaten cockles or mussels, as I don't fancy them. But if anyone wants to eat them, why don't they do it fearlessly, by taking the frozen molluscular corpses out of a refrigerator. Even in July?
Title: Re: Should you collect shellfish between September and April?
Post by: Colin2B on 17/01/2017 23:39:12
Mark
Actually the advice is only to eat shellfish when there is an R in the month, and it can be traced back to the 1500s when it referred to oysters.
Although there is more risk of toxic algae and spoilage in summer months (remember many shellfish are exposed for part of the day) the summer is also spawning time and this affects the taste - oyster meat for example becomes thin and milky. Some countries have regulations limiting taking of shellfish in the spawning seasons.
Regulation in the U.K for shellfish require that they are purified in tanks of circulating salt water with UV treatment if there is any risk of contamination.
Perhaps you could do your collecting in the cooler seasons and eat farmed/frozen the rest of the time.
Enjoy.
Title: Re: Should you collect shellfish between September and April?
Post by: GlentoranMark on 16/12/2017 15:04:15
Actually I heard the O/P as well not to collect when there is an R in the month. I just assumed it was a wives tale to let the shellfish grow and spawn new growth. R months are usually chillier ones anyway, making it harder to collect.
Title: Re: Should you collect shellfish between September and April?
Post by: diverjohn on 26/07/2019 02:33:53
I live on Vancouver Island, Canada. It is now July 2019 and there are warning signs posted on the shore to warn people about not eating shellfish (I know that term irks biologists) due to "red tide", a bacterial infection.
Title: Re: Should you collect shellfish between September and April?
Post by: flummoxed on 07/08/2019 16:35:20
I live on Vancouver Island, Canada. It is now July 2019 and there are warning signs posted on the shore to warn people about not eating shellfish (I know that term irks biologists) due to "red tide", a bacterial infection.

Er yes Shellfish are extremely good at cleaning toxins out of the water, https://www.seeker.com/mussels-and-clams-can-clean-up-polluted-water-1768972732.html  I was told the Chesapeake used to be clear but due to over fishing of shellfish its now a bit murky. 

You are what you eat !  :o :(