The margate is a ten-tentacled cephalopod with an internal calcareous shell, known as a “cuttlebone”, found on our beaches and loved by birds.
More and more rare in Normandy, it is mainly fished with traps in spring and increasingly rarely, with trawls in autumn during the rise. A lure is used to catch it, and often it’s a milk bottle that imitates the female cuttlefish.
This animal is very active at night, capturing its prey (fish, crustaceans) thanks to its two arms with suction cups at the end and its horny beak. Its sophisticated eyes, with a W-shaped pupil, give it a wide field of vision and enable it to project ink to escape from predators. It can change color thanks to the chromatophores in its skin, which are governed by its brain.
The seiche is a migratory species that seeks deeper waters in winter and moves closer to the coasts in spring.
The seiche‘s lifespan is 2 years and its weight can reach 2 kilos for a height of 50 cm (with tentacles). The minimum marketing weight is 100 g.
After mating, the female lays her eggs by engulfing them one by one in a mucus, the end of which she ties to a support. Together, they form a black cluster called a “sea graze“. The eggs hatch after 1 to 3 months into young cuttlefish measuring 1 cm. The female dies after reproduction.
If you visit Spain and enjoy a paella, there’s a good chance the cuttlefish comes from here.
At Destination Granville Terre et Mer, you can taste it at our restaurants, buy it from a fishmonger or at the market. The margate is very easy to cook, as a main course, a la plancha or in fritters, it can be enjoyed with all kinds of sauces.
Co-writings, Julie HURRICANE, ambassador and Estelle COHIER, communications officer