Saturday, 31 October 2015

The seafood market in Portugal: Driving forces and consequences

Volume 61, November 2015, Pages 87–94


Salt and dried cod became a Portuguese cultural symbol.
Seafood consumption is related to geography, resources and fishery heritage.
Religion, social and political forces shaped seafood consumption patterns in Portugal.
Overconsumption of seafood has environmental and economic consequences plus health concerns.


Portugal has the third highest seafood consumption per capita in the world and current patterns of seafood consumption are linked to how seafood products were embodied in the Portuguese society. The objective of this research is to understand Portuguese seafood consumption's main drivers and its consequences. For that official statistics were analyzed and a literature review on seafood consumption was undertaken. Portuguese seafood consumption is characterized by a wide diversity of species and preparing modes, when compared to other countries in Europe. Cod (salted and dried), does not exist in Portuguese waters but due to several factors, such as politics, religion and tradition, became the main species in Portuguese seafood consumption, representing around 38% of the national seafood demand. Five drivers are suggested to explain why Portuguese eat so much seafood: geography, marine resources, fisheries, social forces and politics; and consequences for the environment, economy and health are discussed. Hence while most dietary recommendations advise an increase in fish consumption is not applicable to Portugal and a more sustainable seafood consumption for the future is advocated.


  • Seafood consumption;
  • Fish;
  • Cod;
  • Habits;
  • Drivers;
  • Portugal

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