Buying Fish During Monsoon? Keep These Essential Tips In Mind
Image Credit: Unsplash

With the arrival of the rains in India, it is common practice to drop a few things such as leafy vegetables and seafood from your diet. Avoiding seafood during the rainy season is actually a common practice in many regions, including India. It is believed that by doing this one hopefully reduces the risk of health issues related to contamination and spoilage.

There are plenty of reasons why the season affects the consumption of seafood. For example, heavy rains can wash pollutants, sewage, and agricultural waste into rivers, lakes, and coastal areas, contaminating the water. Because of which, seafood harvested from these waters may be exposed to higher levels and may not be safe to eat.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

The rainy season happens to coincide with the breeding season for certain  fish species. During this time, fish are reproducing, and their populations are more vulnerable. Many States and regions even enforce fishing bans or restrictions during the monsoon season to protect fish during their breeding season and to promote sustainable fishing practices. These regulations help prevent overfishing and allow fish populations to recover. By being mindful of these factors, you can make safer and more environmentally conscious food choices.

The rainy season also sees an increase in algal blooms because the nutrient levels in water bodies become higher. Some types of algae produce toxins that can accumulate in shellfish and other marine life, posing serious health risks if eaten.

In many coastal parts of India, it is usually warm and humid during the monsoon and this makes it easier for bacteria and other microorganisms to grow fast, in water. This can increase the risk of seafood contamination and food borne illnesses.

Rainwater mixing in them can make water bodies muddy and murky. This ends up affecting the overall quality of the water and also the marine life living in it. 

While it is safe to say that it’s best to reduce seafood consumption during the rain, it doesn’t need to be completely stopped. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when buying fish in the monsoon. Doing some research before you buy, may help.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Keep A Look Out For Alerts

Stay informed about local weather conditions and any advisories related to seafood consumption during the monsoon. Keep an eye on any health alerts or advisories issued by health authorities regarding seafood safety.

Buy Fish And Other Seafood From Reliable Sources

It’s best to go to your trusted seafood vendor or go to a well-known and reputable fish market, especially during this season. Buy from shops that  follow proper hygiene standards. Make sure the seller is licensed and adheres to local food safety regulations.

Know Your Seafood

Familiarise yourself with the characteristics of fresh seafood for the varieties you commonly buy. Don’t hesitate to ask the vendor about the source and freshness of the seafood. A reliable vendor will be transparent about these details.

Check for freshness

Fresh seafood should have a mild, salty smell. Stay away from any fish that smells overly fishy or has a stale ammonia like. Fresh fish has clear, bright eyes, shiny skin, and vibrant gills and shellfish should have tightly closed shells. Fresh fish should be firm to the touch and should spring back when pressed. Shellfish should not feel slimy.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Seasonal Availability

Do some research on local varieties in your region that are in season and buy those. Seasonal fish are usually fresher and more sustainable. Avoid Breeding Season: Certain species have a breeding season during the monsoon. Avoid buying those to help maintain ecological balance and ensure better quality.

Check Storage Conditions

It is important that the seafood is stored on a bed of ice or in a refrigerated display. Fish needs to be kept at or below 4°C. The vendor’s stall and storage areas should be clean and free from any foul odour.

Transport and Storage

When transporting seafood home, ensure it stays cool. Use an insulated bag or cooler with ice packs. Put the seafood in the refrigerator as soon as you get home. Consume it within 1-2 days to be safer.

Proper Cleaning and Cooking

Rinse seafood thoroughly under cold running water to remove any surface bacteria or contaminants. Ensure seafood is cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria or parasites. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked seafood during the rainy season.

Avoid Monsoon-Sensitive Species

Certain varieties of fish and shellfish are more prone to contamination and spoilage during the rainy season. Be cautious with these varieties. Be particularly careful with small prawns and crabs. Avoid seafood from areas known for water contamination or pollution, especially regions that are experiencing heavy rains and floods.

Avoid Bulk Buying

Buy seafood in small quantities to ensure you consume it while it’s fresh. Avoid the temptation to stock up during the monsoon season.