Fishing in Catalonia almost completely halted

Locally caught fish now harder to find, with lack of activity in ports and changes in consumer habits to blame

Fishing fleet moored at port of Palamós (by Marina López)
Fishing fleet moored at port of Palamós (by Marina López) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 26, 2020 03:24 PM

Locally caught fish is now harder to find in Catalonia, and is expected to continue being scarce in the coming weeks, while the coronavirus crisis lasts. 

Fishing in the country has almost completely halted, with some of the main fishing associations closed, including 'confraries' in Barcelona and Tarragona. 

Others, including that of Palamós, are about to close, with other local producers operating at half pace, such as those of Arenys de Mar, Cabrils (in the central coast) and the Ebre region, in the southernmost area of Catalonia. 

The sales of fish have dropped by 30 to 40% in the country's biggest food wholesale market, Mercabarna –  locally caught fish represents around 15% of the total sales in Mercabarna. 

According to sector representatives, talking to the Catalan News Agency (ACN), the lack of activity in ports is partly to blame for the drop – which, in turn, is mostly due to the closure of all bars, restaurants and hotels after the exceptional measures to fight covid-19 came into force. 

Also, changes in consumer habits have had an impact. Wholesale sellers say that confinement leads people to eat more "fast, easy to cook" food, rather than fresh fish. 

The president of the Catalan federation of fishing associations, Antoni Abad, told ACN that the closure of bars, restaurants and hotels had already a big impact on the sector. "We could have too much stock of fish, resulting in the price dropping so much that it would not be worth going fishing."

Yet, the enhanced measures applied this week, including minimum distancing between workers made things even harder, because some boats could not guarantee such a minimum distance between employees. "Only those that think they can respect the strict security measures go fishing," he said.