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Posted by Jeni Evans on May 08, 2015
Spain Consumes More Fish than it Produces

We eat a lot of fish in Spain, particularly in coastal regions, where in many restaurants the fish we order has been freshly caught that morning from our waters.

But we should also be aware that much of the fish we see in our supermarkets has not been locally caught and it comes from waters outside of Spain; some of it from the EU, and the rest from further afield.

And, a new report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF), a British think-tank, titled ‘Fish Dependence 2015’, has revealed that if Spain had to survive on its own fish resources without depending on any from outside of the country, we would be eating our last fish tomorrow, on Saturday 9 May.

According to this report, our capacity to be self-sufficient has worsened in 2015, and the day that Spain becomes dependent on other countries (the day on which we exhaust our own supply) has arrived 33 days before it did in 2014.

The problem, it seems, has been one of total mismanagement of our supplies, says the economic and environmental representative of the NEF.

European waters do have one of the richest supplies of fish in the world, but they have not been managed in a responsible manner. In order to satisfy our growing appetite for fish, we have overexploited our resources, and ended up exporting the excess to other parts of the world.

However, this is not only a problem in Spain, yet out of all the countries in the whole of Europe, we are one of the most dependent – which just seems ludicrous.

Spain’s consumption of fish is one of the highest in Europe at 44.9 kilos a year per person, which is much higher than the European average (22.9 kg). However, we just don’t produce enough to satisfy this.

Spain sits almost at the top of the list for the most fish dependent countries within the EU, only behind Portugal, whose day of dependency fell on 27 April; Germany (7 April); Italy (18 April); and just ahead of France (25 May).

Spain and Sweden are the two countries whose dependency ranking has fallen the most in the last 12 months.

According to the NEF, hauls made by Spanish fishermen in non-European waters have risen whilst falling in European seas.

Therefore, 65% of the fish that we consume in this country has been fished outside of the EU, which has led to a fish dependency way higher than the EU average of 48%.

And the situation in Europe has worsened over the past two decades. Today, one out of every two fish consumed in the EU comes from exterior waters, but 20 years ago the figure was only one out of every three.

So, can anything be done to combat this tendency?

Well, the experts say that if fish stocks were re-established to the maximum level of capacity or yield this would bring:

  • 2,052,639 additional tonnes of fish each year, a sufficient amount to satisfy the annual demand in the EU of 89.2 million citizens
  • 824 million euro additional gross profit for EU citizens
  • Up to 64,092 new jobs in the sector

Source: www.elmundo.es, www.eleconomista.es


  • Spain
  • fish
  • fishing
  • fish stocks
  • EU
  • resources


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