David Levy – When it comes to fish, is Spain a mirror of the UK? – Jul 15

Sitting here in Aqua Dulce, on the southern most point of Spain in the Mediterranean, I reflect on different nations’ relationship with the sea.

Last night was festival night on the beach with families, youngsters and children gathering around huge bonfires and barbecues to celebrate the goodness and bounty of the sea. It was apparent to me that sardines were the only available fish of choice. Far more prevalent were the spare ribs and sausages which demonstrated to me that coastal communities here suffer as we do from depleted fish stocks, and don’t have the farmed fish such as salmon like we do. They of course farm tuna, but this earns much needed revenue from the Far East.
Most of the fish restaurants have closed, paella just about survives and most meals comprise of calamaris and shell fish. More expensive fish are reserved for the wealthy, and as I don’t class myself in this bracket a meal out will be a luxury.
I wondered how the ordinary coastal Spanish person feels about the poor state of affairs especially when Aqua Dulce is a fishing port? The small fleet is inshore and hunts for octopus, usually by the method of lamping and line jigging. The catch also brings in gurnard but catches are well down historically. Sounds familiar to our own history.

We are probably more fortunate to have greater variety from our waters, but what is clear is that the economic pressures to fish have driven stocks into levels of collapse in EU waters generally.
I would appreciate learning about your experiences when you go on holiday in order to build up a broader picture of the fishing communities where you have visited
David Levy

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