Less Octopus, More Spider Crab. Climate Change Dictates This Year’s Christmas Menu in Spain

Octopus has become scarce in Galicia lately, due to the rise of the seawater temperature as a result of climate change, and, overfishing. In return, precious seafood has dropped drastically in price. The spider crab, a luxury food very popular during Christmas in Spain, is available in abundance this year on the northern coast. This is due to the scarcity of the cephalopod, a natural predator of the spider crab. The octopus feed on crabs as well as its larves. Moreover, the change of temperature of the water that is problematic for the octopus, is favourable for the crab.

In recent years, the lack of octopus has become a constant in Galicia and, according to recorded auctions, demand for the mollusc is still high. Served with paprika and olive oil it is after all the most typical dish of the Galician cuisine. Now it looks like the octopus and the spider crab have swapped places on the star podium.

The crabs, thanks to better conditions in the sea and less predators like the octopus, are reproducing more rapidly than previous years. And more crabs mean cheaper prices. In a country badly affected by the economic crisis, this seems to be a good thing as this year more people can afford the fancy crab. However, hardly anyone seems to wonder about what this means for the environment and the future of seafood.

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