Are There Sharks In Spain? Here’s What You Need To Know About The Sharks Found In Spain

Anyone who’s ever seen Jaws is probably a little wary about the idea of sharks in the ocean. But the fact is, you’re more likely to be hit by a bus than attacked by a shark.

However that doesn’t mean there aren’t sharks in Spain: and plenty of them! Most recently, a 2 meter long shark has been spotted by beachgoers in the Canary Islands. Part of Melenara Beach was closed on 17th June as a result. And on 16th June Playa Salinetas was closed because beachgoers spotted a hammerhead shark there too.

This isn’t a one off occurrence. In May, a seven-foot blue shark was spotted at a beach in Menorca. And last summer a 2-metre shark was spotted in the town of Orihuela.

So what types of sharks are native to Spain? Are any of them dangerous? Here’s everything you need to know:

How Many Types of Sharks Are Native To Spain?

It is estimated that there are 50 different types of shark native to Spanish waters. If you do spot a shark in Spain then it’s likely that it will be one of these 3 types, as they are the most common in the country:

  • The blue shark (tintorera or tiburón azul)
  • The shortfin mako shark (marrajo)
  • The hammerhead shark (tiburón martillo)

But you might also spot the bluntnose sixgill shark (cañabota gris), the bull shark (tiburón toro) and the Great lantern shark (tollo raspa).

There is the potential to spot sharks in any part of the Spanish coastline. But the areas where there have been confirmed shark sightings recently include the Canary Islands, Galicia, Alicante, Ibiza, Valencia and Granada.

In the Mediterranean sea, up to 80 different shark species have been found, and 45 of those species have been sighted in Spanish waters. The blue shark is again the most common of all. This is the shark that you should be most aware of if you’re visiting the beaches of the Costa Del Sol.

Why Are There Sharks So Close To Shore In Spain?

As a general rule, sharks prefer deeper waters, but sharks often come close to shore in Spain (and in many other countries) for a myriad of reasons.

Marine biologist Juan Carlos García suggested that the reason the sharks were so close to shore in their most recent Canary Island sightings, for example, was because they were hunting for food. This is a probable scenario because there are fish farms located not too far offshore in the region. If some of these fish had escaped the farm environment then it’s likely the sharks were following them.

Other reasons sharks head closer to the shoreline than they might normally are because they are following migratory patterns that take them close to shore, because they are being pushed by abnormal ocean currents, or because they are unwell. When sharks are sick this can lead to erratic behaviour. This is often when sharks are at their most dangerous.

Are Shark Attacks Common In Spain?

Sharks are demonized animals that have a reputation for being dangerous, but the danger of the shark is wildly overestimated.

There are a whopping 1,200 different shark species in the world. Only 500 of these swim in the mid-water or near the shoreline: the rest stick to the deep ocean. Of these 500 species, 30 have been recorded as attacking humans BUT only 3 of these species are capable of a deadly attack. They are the white shark, the tiger shark and the bull shark.

That means that the likelihood of being attacked or hurt by a shark in Spain is very very small. So don’t let concerns about being attacked by sharks stop you getting in the water and having fun this summer!

In recent years there have only been 2 recorded shark attacks in Spain. Swimmers were injured in Arenales del Sol beach in Alicante in 2016 and at Platja d’en Bossa in Ibiza in 2017. But these swimmers were only mildly injured with very minor bites by blue sharks. Blue sharks are not considered deadly.

Any other shark sightings have been just that: sightings. And when a shark is spotted the Spanish authorities are very good at clearing and temporarily closing beaches to ensure that both tourists and local residents are protected and to ensure all beach goers are as safe as possible.

Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Perhaps you like the idea of visiting as many (shark-free) beaches as possible?  Why not get in touch with our team of local property experts today, to find out more about how we can help you.