Saturday, April 23, 2011

Barcelona Fish Market

A vendor stands next to 10-kilo bags of rope-farmed mussels

While on holiday in Barcelona last week, I had the opportunity to go to the Barcelona Fish Market (Merca-Barna), a massive warehouse where fish is sold wholesale to distributors and retailers.  The market can move over 90 tonnes of fish per day, constantly working to satisfy the voracious demand for fish in this Mediterranean city.

Fishermen sell their catches to wholesalers, who then bring the fish into the market to sell to shop owners, restaurants, and local fish markets.  The variety of fish available was absolutely incredible: from mussels to tuna, shrimp to salmon, sea bream to monkfish...every type of fish you could possibly want!

The friend I was staying with in Barcelona use to work at the market as a health control officer, so he was friends with several of the vendors, allowing us to speak with them about the fish they were selling.  Some fish was wild-caught (the yellowfin tuna, for example), but much of it was farmed (mussels, salmon, sea bream, etc.).

In the end, we made a few purchases ourselves: 1 kilo of red shrimp (or gambas roja in Spanish), a 2-kilo salmon, 5 kilos of sea bream, 3 kilos of razor clams, a 5-kilo bag of mussels, and a gorgeous 3-kilo yellowfin tuna loin.

Overall, it was an amazing experience to see fish exchange on such a massive scale, especially given my interest in the economics of farmed seafood!
Merca-Barna in full swing

Yellowfin tuna loins for sale

Red shrimp


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