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An ICIJ Investigation

Spain’s $8 Billion Fish

Spain’s fishing industry racked up an extensive history of flouting rules and breaking laws.

  • The Spanish fishing industry has received more than €5.8 billion (more than $8 billion) in subsidies from the EU and Spain since 2000 – far more than the industry of any other EU country.
  • Subsidies account for a third of the sector’s value. Simply put, nearly one-in-three fish caught on a hook or raised in a farm is paid for with public money.
  • The subsidized Spanish fleet has cultivated an extensive record of flouting the rules while officials overlook fraud and continue to dole out aid to vessels that break the law.
  • More than 80 percent of subsidized fishing companies that were fined in Spain for fishing infractions – and then lost subsequent court appeals – continued to receive subsidies.
  • One Spanish shipowner received more than €8.2 million in subsidies even while his company or its affiliates faced more than 40 accusations of illegal fishing and US$5 million in fines.
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