I don’t know if it is just an Eastern U.S. thing. You know the lore about only eating shellfish like, clams, mussels, scallops and oysters in the months that have an “r” in their name. Well, have you ever wondered why?
Well, I’ve done a bit of research and found two reasons how and why this lore of “R” began.
- Blame it on the “RED TIDE”.
Some might say it is due to the Red Tide. Red Tide is a burst of HAB or Harmful Algal Blooms that have grown out-of-control and make the ocean water look red. However, not all blooms are harmful. Most blooms are even beneficial and provide food for ocean wildlife.
However, some blooms are detrimental and release a dangerous toxin that can kill fish, shellfish, mammals, and birds, and in effect may cause illness in people. These harmful Algal blooms occur mostly during the summer months and thus affected harvesting.
But in our day and age Scientist and the National Ocean Service monitor and studying this phenomenon constantly trying to learn how to detect and forecast the location of the blooms. The goal is to give advance warnings so communities can adequately plan for and deal with these ‘red-tide’ events.
2. Well, even shellfish need a little “Lovin”.
Yes, you read that right. Even shellfish need to reproduce and most shellfish do just that when the water warms up. So during those warm water months, you know, the months without an ‘r’ in their name. Harvesting is paused in order for the shellfish to spawn and reproduce.
There you have it. The facts about how this lore began.
But now I am left scratching my head. This opened the door to a bigger question. Who was the smarty pants who had so much time on his hands that he figured out summer months such as; May, June, July were all missing an “R”??
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