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7.6 SPAIN


7.6.1 Catches

During the period 1950-97, Spanish elasmobranch catches increased from 10 800 tonnes to 24 900 tonnes. This growth was not regular. During 1950-1972 catches varied between 10 000 tonnes and 15 000 tonnes per year with larger catches in 1957-61. In 1973 they collapsed and catches recovered slowly in the following years until the mid-1980s when they climbed from 5 700 tonnes to 13 700 tonnes in one year, 1984/5. Between 1985 and 1997 catches fluctuated with a maximum of 24 900 tonnes in 1997 and a minimum of 10 000 tonnes in 1992.

In 1997 the Spanish elasmobranch catch was composed of 54.7% batoid fishes, (53.6% identified raja rays nei), and 44.2% various sharks nei. The rest consisted of 211 tonnes of dogfish nei and 50 tonnes of “elasmobranch not identified”. According to Bonfil[139], unspecified sharks are composed of shortfin makos, porbeagles, small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) and some squaloids. Fleming and Papageorgiou[140] claim that the main species captured are blue sharks, shortfin mako sharks, tope sharks, small spotted catshark, kitefin sharks, birdbeak dogfish (Deania calcea), Portuguese dogfish (Centroscymnus coelolepis), knifetooth dogfish (Scymnodon ringens), gulper sharks, thresher sharks, sandbar sharks, picked dogfish and blackmouth catsharks (Galeus melastomus).

Figure 100 Spanish elasmobranch catches by species in 1 000 tonnes (1950-1997)

Source: FAO - FIDI.

Northeast Atlantic is traditionally the main fishing area where Spanish vessels capture Elasmobranchii and in 1997 60.0% of the catch came from this area, 38.3% from the Northwest Atlantic and small amounts from the Southwest, Southeast and Antarctic Atlantic. In the mid/late 1980s there was a considerable increase in Spanish elasmobranch catches in the Northwest Atlantic, which became the main fishing area for these species for a few years. In the past a large quantity of Elasmobranchii was taken in the Mediterranean but since 1988 no catches have been reported from this area. Various sharks nei are captured in the Northeast Atlantic.

Figure 101 Spanish elasmobranch catches by fishing areas in 1 000 tonnes (1950-1997)

Source: FAO - FIDI.

Elasmobranchii have almost always been captured as a bycatch, especially of swordfish fisheries, shortfin makos being the most important species caught, but they have also often been targeted on a seasonal basis. According to Oliver[141], Spain has two fisheries directed at sharks. An offshore fishery that targets some deep-water species and another that occurs on the continental slope off Cantabria. The first began in 1991 with the appearance of a market for the liver oil of the targeted species. The main sharks captured are little sleeper shark (Somniosus rostratus), birdbeak shark, gulper shark (Centrophorus granulosus), and Portuguese dogfish. Livers represent the principal commercial product of this fishery and are occasionally the only retained parts. In 1993 landings of deep-water sharks (skinned and gutted) amounted to 234 tonnes. The other fishery is more restricted and occurs when traditional target species are lacking. Major species captured by this fishery are small spotted and blackmouth catsharks and gulper sharks.

7.6.2 Markets and trade

The Spanish market for Elasmobranchii is in a very dynamic phase of expansion with increasing production, imports and exports in the last few years. According to FAO statistics, Spain was the largest exporter and fourth largest importer of Elasmobranchii in the world by volume in 1997. Spanish production of Elasmobranchii started in 1992 with nearly 1 000 tonnes and by 1997 Spain was the second largest producer of Elasmobranchii in the world with 12 100 tonnes. In 1997 its production consisted only of frozen sharks but frozen skates were also reported in 1992 and 1993.

Spain has substantially increased its imports of fresh and frozen sharks in the last few years from 850 tonnes (US$1 million) in 1981 to 7 200 tonnes (US$11.4 million) in 1997, according to FAO statistics. This increase was not regular, with imports falling below those of the previous year five times in this period. According to EUROSTAT data, in 1998 imports were 9 700 tonnes, worth US$14.7 million. The great bulk of these imports, 8 400 tonnes (US$11.9 million), were in frozen whole form, which has shown the largest increase in the last few years. Of these, 540 tonnes (US$1.1 million) were picked dogfish and 7 840 tonnes (US$10.8 million) other sharks. Imports of fresh sharks amounted to 1 240 tonnes (US$2.7 million) of which 270 tonnes (US$344 300) were dogfish and catsharks. Since 1988 there has been a substantial decrease in imports of frozen fillets. In 1988 they came to 674 tonnes (US$1.5 million), by 1998 they were only 69 tonnes (US$104 230).

Figure 102 Spanish shark imports by product forms in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Figure 103 Spanish shark imports by species in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

In 1998 UK was the major supplier of shark to Spain, with 2 360 tonnes, worth US$4.7 million, followed by Portugal (1 740 tonnes, US$3.1 million), Panama (915 tonnes, US$733 150), Japan (884 tonnes, US$760 100), Belize (870 tonnes, US$722 600), Chile (372 tonnes, US$860 800), Honduras (354 tonnes, US$429 800) and China (302 tonnes, US$209 600). Most Spanish imports of fresh shark came from UK, Portugal, UK, Morocco and France.

Figure 104 Spanish shark imports by country of origin in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Spanish exports of sharks have grown from 1 tonne worth US$5 000 in 1981 to nearly 12 400 tonnes, worth US$27.4 million in 1997, making Spain the largest exporter in the world by volume, according to FAO statistics. According to EUROSTAT data, in 1998 exports were nearly 17 500 tonnes, worth US$34.1 million. Frozen sharks provided 99.5% of these exports, 17 200 tonnes worth US$33.4 million whole shark and 200 tonnes (US$427 500) fillets. Sharks other than catsharks and dogfish made up 99.9% of the exports in 1998. Spain nearly doubled its exports in one year, from 6 900 tonnes in 1996 to 12 400 tonnes in 1997. In 1998 a further increase of 40.9% was experienced. Moreover, Spanish exports have reached a wider range of markets. In 1996 these exports went to a restricted number of countries, mostly inside the EU, with Italy being the major destination, receiving 71.6%. In 1998 nearly 7 000 tonnes (US$10.1 million) were exported to Italy, 40.0% of total exports. Other significant recipient countries were Seychelles (3 550 tonnes, US$3.8 million), Hong Kong (1 290 tonnes, US$9.7 million), Uruguay (1 010 tonnes, US$1.2 million), Madagascar (960 tonnes, US$961 500) and Mauritius (946 tonnes, US$895 900).

Figure 105 Spanish shark exports by product forms in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Figure 106 Spanish shark exports by species in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Figure 107 Spanish shark exports by country of destination in tonnes

Source: EUROSTAT.

Shark meat is usually marketed skinned and gutted as steaks and fillets. It is consumed all over the country but is particularly appreciated on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Shortfin mako shark (marrajo) is the preferred species, followed by thresher shark, tope shark (cazón), smooth hammerhead, smooth-hound, picked dogfish and bigeye thresher shark. Other less valuable species are small-spotted catshark, kitefin shark, gulper sharks and blue sharks.

Even if the terms marrajo and cazón indicate, respectively, shortfin mako shark and tope shark, they are also often used when selling other shark species. Shortfin mako shark obtains higher prices than other species, similar to those of swordfish. Sometimes makos are marketed as swordfish. In February 1999 the wholesale prices for mako shark were US$9.22/kg for fresh and US$3.45/kg for frozen; while those for tope shark were US$5.61/kg (fresh), US$3.37/kg (frozen) and US$3.66 (frozen steaks). The following figure shows five price series for fresh and frozen marrajo and fresh and frozen cazon (whole and steaks), at the wholesale market of Barcelona from January 1991 to February 1999.

Figure 108 Barcelona wholesale prices in Ptas/kg

Source: Mercabarna.

Fins are usually taken from the shark species captured, in particular from shortfin mako, thresher, blue and hammerhead sharks. They are usually exported to Asian countries such as Republic of Korea, Thailand, and China. Exports of shark fins to China have increased substantially in the last few years, going from 424 tonnes, valued US$1.6 million in 1996 to 1 040 tonnes, worth US$ 3.9 million in 1998. There are also recorded imports of dried fins from Hong Kong, China, Singapore and other East Asian countries. Dried fins are marketed in Asian shops and used in Chinese restaurants, mainly in Madrid and Barcelona. The General Service of Statistics and Planning records this trade but it is not reported to FAO.

Spain imports and exports shark skin and leather according to the statistics recorded by the General Service of Statistics and Planning. These products do not seem to have a great market in Spain; they are probably imported processed or semi-processed and then re-exported[142].

The Ministry of Health has authorized cartilage, liver oil and squalene for consumption and use in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. There is an expanding market for shark cartilage products such as capsules and powder. They are usually imported. Liver oil of several species is exported increasingly, in particular that of little sleeper shark, birdbeak shark, gulper shark and Portuguese dogfish. There is an emerging market for shark spine cartilage, which is also exported.

Table 81 Spanish elasmobranch catches by species in tonnes


1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

1957

1958

1959

Raja rays nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Various sharks nei

7 000

7 000

5 900

6 800

6 700

6 700

7 700

9 900

9 400

10 500

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Dogfish sharks nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

3 800

4 600

4 200

4 000

4 200

4 100

4 000

4 200

4 800

4 900

Picked dogfish

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Large sharks nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Porbeagle

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

10 800

11 600

10 100

10 800

10 900

10 800

11 700

14 100

14 200

15 400













1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969

Raja rays nei

-

-

5 500

5 100

6 100

4 900

5 000

4 700

4 700

4 100

Various sharks nei

9 900

9 300

1 800

2 400

3 300

2 900

2 600

2 800

3 100

2 700

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

-

-

2 000

1 800

1 900

2 000

2 300

2 000

2 100

1 800

Dogfish sharks nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

4 200

5 000

1 500

1 900

2 300

1 600

1 600

1 400

1 200

1 300

Picked dogfish

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Large sharks nei

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Porbeagle

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

14 100

14 300

10 800

11 200

13 600

11 400

11 500

10 900

11 100

9 900













1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

Raja rays nei

3 600

3 600

6 400

0

0

1 016

744

80

448

59

Various sharks nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

-

-

0

0

0

0

0

0

727

223

Dogfish sharks nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

-

28

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

2 500

2 500

2 300

0

600

0

0

0

399

604

Picked dogfish

-

0

0

0

0

0

0

69

6

9

Large sharks nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Porbeagle

3 800

3 800

2 700

-

-

-

-

-

2 087

0

Total

9 900

9 900

11 400

0

600

1 016

745

149

3 667

924

Table 81 Spanish elasmobranch catches by species in tonnes (continued)


1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Raja rays nei

28

612

2 407

2 500

2 770

10 059

12 514

17 685

11 617

14 659

Various sharks nei

0

8

2 068

1 349

1 416

2 215

3 257

3 169

3 648

3 440

Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

319

621

525

518

500

530

0

708

1 083

695

Dogfish sharks nei

78

37

66

653

0

0

0

0

0

0

Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

1 622

1 114

1 237

1 096

1 018

914

0

460

334

2 619

Picked dogfish

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Large sharks nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Porbeagle

0

0

0

0

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

2 052

2 392

6 303

6 116

5 704

13 718

15 771

22 022

16 682

21 413













1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997



Raja rays nei

7 113

8 449

2 093

3 785

9 310

7 511

8 078

13 329



Various sharks nei

3 640

4 992

6 551

6 862

10 998

10 000

10 500

11 000



Rays, stingrays, mantas nei

791

1 073

1 277

888

519

435

255

289



Dogfish sharks nei

0

0

0

52

55

0

138

211



Sharks, rays, skates, etc. nei

2 619

64

25

30

30

20

30

50



Picked dogfish

0

0

0

0

0

0

63

0



Large sharks nei

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0



Porbeagle

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-



Total

14 163

14 578

9 946

11 617

20 912

17 966

19 064

24 879



Source: FAO - FIDI.

Table 82 Spanish elasmobranch catches by fishing areas in tonnes


1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

1957

1958

1959

Atlantic, Northeast

7 000

7 000

5 900

6 800

6 700

6 700

7 700

9 900

9 400

10 500

Atlantic, Northwest

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Atlantic, Southwest

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Atlantic, Southeast

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Atlantic, Antarctic

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Mediterranean and Black Sea

3 800

4 600

4 200

4 000

4 200

4 100

4 000

4 200

4 800

4 900

Atlantic, Eastern Central

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

10 800

11 600

10 100

10 800

10 900

10 800

11 700

14 100

14 200

15 400













1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969

Atlantic, Northeast

9 900

9 300

7 300

7 500

9 400

7 800

7 600

7 500

7 800

6 800

Atlantic, Northwest

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Atlantic, Southwest

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Atlantic, Southeast

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Atlantic, Antarctic

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Mediterranean and Black Sea

4 200

5 000

3 100

2 800

3 100

2 900

3 200

3 000

2 900

2 900

Atlantic, Eastern Central

-

-

400

900

1 100

700

700

400

400

200

Total

14 100

14 300

10 800

11 200

13 600

11 400

11 500

10 900

11 100

9 900













1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

Atlantic, Northeast

7 400

7 400

9 100

0

0

1 016

743

0

2 531

34

Atlantic, Northwest

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

149

10

63

Atlantic, Southwest

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Atlantic, Southeast

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

Atlantic, Antarctic

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Mediterranean and Black Sea

2 400

2 400

0

0

600

0

0

0

0

0

Atlantic, Eastern Central

100

100

2 300

0

0

0

0

0

1 126

823

Total

9 900

9 900

11 400

0

600

1 016

745

149

3 667

924

Table 82 Spanish elasmobranch catches by fishing areas in tonnes (continued)


1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Atlantic, Northeast

0

347

4 437

3 842

3 107

3 872

4 830

4 888

5 297

4 941

Atlantic, Northwest

111

310

104

660

1 079

8 402

10 941

15 966

9 968

13 158

Atlantic, Southwest

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

203

724

695

Atlantic, Southeast

47

144

5

28

0

0

0

0

0

2 619

Atlantic, Antarctic

-

-

-

-

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mediterranean and Black Sea

879

720

787

671

630

514

0

965

693

0

Atlantic, Eastern Central

1 015

871

970

915

888

930

-

-

-

-

Total

2 052

2 392

6 303

6 116

5 704

13 718

15 771

22 022

16 682

21 413













1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997



Atlantic, Northeast

5 431

6 346

8 435

8 573

14 878

13 000

14 000

15 000



Atlantic, Northwest

5 322

7 095

209

2 126

5 485

4 511

4 779

9 540



Atlantic, Southwest

791

1 070

1 223

838

469

395

225

247



Atlantic, Southeast

2 619

67

52

80

80

60

60

90



Atlantic, Antarctic

0

-

0

0

0

0

0

2



Mediterranean and Black Sea

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0



Atlantic, Eastern Central

-

-

27

-

-

-

-

-



Total

14 163

14 578

9 946

11 617

20 912

17 966

19 064

24 879



Source: FAO - FIDI.


[139] BONFIL R., idem.
[140] FLEMING E.H., PAPAGEORGIOU P.A., idem.
[141] OLIVER A., idem.
[142] FLEMING E.H., PAPAGEORGIOU P.A, idem.

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