For the last 10 years or so, more and more sharks have been appearing on Spanish coasts and their presence is causing a slight concern among Spaniards or tourists who visit our beaches every year.
Normally, it is in summer when shark sightings increase, and on more than one occasion some beaches have been temporarily closed due to the presence of these marine predators.
The presence of sharks in the Spanish coasts can be related to several factors.
The main reason that most researchers and biologists are turning to is due to climate change.
Climate change has led to changes in water temperatures and in the migration patterns of marine species, which could affect the distribution of sharks and bring them to waters where they were not common before.
Rising ocean temperatures push aquatic animals northward in search of cooler habitats, as they are not adapted to such warm waters, which is why the presence of these animals has been increasing in Spain.
Our country is covered by two types of waters, on the one hand, the warm beaches of the Mediterranean Sea to the cooler ones that are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, probably sharks in Spain pass from one side to the other in search of such "freshness".
Overfishing has a significant impact on the occurrence of sharks on beaches and in nearshore waters. Overfishing occurs when more fish are caught than the oceans can naturally replenish, leading to fish declines.
Declining fish stocks due to overfishing means that sharks have less food available. This leads to a closer approach to shores in search of prey.
Sharks are a crucial element in the marine food chain. If their population declines due to overfishing, it can trigger an imbalance in the marine ecosystem, affecting other species and the overall health of the ocean.
Marine scientists have been conducting increased research and monitoring of shark populations in Spain and other nearby countries. Modern technologies, such as satellite trackers, have enabled better tracking of their movements, which could lead to greater knowledge about their migration patterns and behavior.
Sharks in Spain tend to be more present in the Cantabrian and Mediterranean Sea area, normally those found in the Mediterranean are more harmless species. But the cold waters of the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay, as well as the greater depths in these regions, are the habitat of large sharks.
The Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Valencian Community, Catalonia, Granada, Galicia and Asturias are places where sharks have been documented.
In Spanish waters, both in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea, several species of sharks can be found:
The blue shark is a common species in Spanish waters and is found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is known for its bright blue color and usually inhabits deeper waters.
In the previous section we have mentioned it several times, and it is undoubtedly the one that has been seen the most on our beaches, especially those bathed by the Mediterranean Sea.
The hammerhead shark, with its distinctive hammer-shaped head, can also be found in Spanish waters. Some species of hammerhead sharks are sighted offshore.
A very common shark along the Canary coasts and has occasionally been sighted in Galicia as it frequents the Atlantic Ocean.
The dogfish is a type of small, elongated shark that inhabits shallow waters of the Mediterranean Sea, it is also known as a catshark. It is often found near rocky shores.
Generally, catsharks have a length of about 60 to 80 centimeters, although some individuals can be larger, but in general it is one of the smallest sharks in Spain. This species is very common along the northern coasts, especially in Cantabria and Galicia.
Although it is a migratory species that can be found in waters all over the world, including some regions of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, its presence in the Spanish coasts is relatively rare.
However, some white sharks have been seen several meters off the Galician or Canary coasts, as they inhabit more open ocean areas and cold waters such as those of the Atlantic Ocean.
This species is found in temperate and subtropical oceans around the world, including the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. In Spain, this type of shark is very common in the Canary Islands. However, as far as cuisine is concerned, it is very common in Spanish gastronomy in general.
Its body is elongated with a large and thin dorsal fin. It is usually grayish in color but can also be brown. It has venomous spines near its dorsal fin. It is not a large shark, at most 2 meters long.
Encountering a shark is an unusual experience, but it is important to know how to act safely and responsibly if you find yourself in such a situation.
It is important to remember that, although there are increasing records of sightings along the Spanish coasts, interactions with humans are rare and, in most cases, sharks in Spain do not represent a danger to people. Their presence is part of marine biodiversity and underlines the importance of conserving these marine ecosystems.