Fish Farms: Aquaculture in Spain

Fish Farms: Aquaculture in Spain

Fish Farms: Aquaculture in Spain

Spain is a country of age-old marine tradition, with a coastline bathed by both the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. It is the largest producer of fish in the European Union by volume and is one of the top consumers thanks in part to a healthy tourism trade.

As natural fish supplies have declined due to the over-exploitation of resources and industrial pollution, Spain’s fishing industry – a long-time pillar of the economy and employment provider – has focused on developing its relatively immature aquaculture businesses to guarantee its future.

The business world is waking up to the benefits of aquaculture, and Spain is now witnessing some transfer of investment from fisheries/capture sector to aquaculture, while local consumers are coming to appreciate the qualities of this type of fish having always preferred wild fish.


  • Spain’s modern aquaculture industry has its roots in the early 1970s when two private companies Finisterre Mar and Tinamenor SA began to cultivate shellfish.
  • Trout production is the driver for the country’s inland aquaculture business due to existing top quality aquatic resources.
  • Hake and turbot production is the main driver for the marine aquaculture business which has grown significantly over the last few years.
  • Shellfish production is top of the list in terms of volume.
  • Exports have grown apace with the expansion of Spain’s aquaculture industry, particularly in the last decade.

The government is keen to promote the industry at home, not least because of its potential for job creation, as well as boost its international profile. It will meet with industry leaders and associations to submit a strategic business plan to the European Commission before the end of 2013.


The growth potential for Spain’s aquaculture industry makes it an attractive investment target for both domestic and foreign investors. As competition heats up in the sector, mergers and acquisitions are expected to increase.

As an example, in September 2012, shipping and seafood company Stolt Nielsen’s subsidiary Stolt Sea Farm (SSF) bought Acuidoro SL, a turbot farm in Galicia. The purchase included Alrogal, an adjacent hatchery, which SSF said it would use to expand its sole operations. Argali Abogados were advisors on the deal.

Stolt Nielsen is listed on the Oslo stock exchange and employs over 5,000 people in 33 offices throughout the world. Its Spanish acquisition fits in with its strategy for boosting its aquaculture business.


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