Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Spain Artisanal trap shrimp fishery - Canary Islands waters
Fishery  Fact Sheet
CECAF Fisheries Reports 2011
Spain Artisanal trap shrimp fishery - Canary Islands waters
Fact Sheet Citation  
Pesquería artesanal de nasas camaroneras de las Islas Canarias
Owned byFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – more>>

Overview: This fishery started in the Canary Islands at the end of the ‘80s. The main target species are small shrimps as the narwal shrimp Parapandalus narval and the Guinea striped shrimp Plesionika williamsi, which inhabit rocky-sandy bottoms of the islands. These shrimps are fished by traps especially designed for catching this kind of small crustaceans. The fishery is developed through all year long, although catches are more abundant during the summer months. Catches are used for local consumption.

Location of Spain Artisanal trap shrimp fishery - Canary Islands waters

Geographic reference:  Spain
Spatial Scale: National
Reference year: 2011
Approach: Fishing Activity

Fishing Activity
Fishing Gear: Traps (nei)
Type of production system: Artisanal
Fishery Area: Canary Islands; Spain; Canaries/Madeira insular

Seasonality: All year long …

Harvested Resource
Target Species: Narwal shrimp; Guinea striped shrimp
Associated Species: Common octopus; Blacktail comber; Comber …  

Means of Production
Vessel Type: Trap setters nei
Fishery Indicators
Nominal Effort: Number of vessels
Participation: Number of fishermen
Production: Catch total

Fishing Activity
Type of production system: Artisanal   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Bottom type: Soft bottom; Hard bottom.   Depth zone: Coastal (0 m - 50 m); Shelf (50 m - 200 m); Slope - Upperslope (200 m - 500 m).   Horizontal distribution: Littoral; Neritic.   Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo References for: Canary Islands

The Canary Islands archipelago and its surrounding waters are part of the Canary region, which is located on the eastern edge of the subtropical gyre of the North Atlantic and is bathed by the Canary current fed by the Azores current (Fiekas et al., 1992). The Canary Islands act as a barrier to the Canary Current and the trade winds which introduce strong variability in the atmospheric and oceanic flows, giving rise to mesoscalar oceanographic processes, such as eddies and warm wakes, to leeward of the islands (Mittelstaedt, 1991, Hernández-Guerra et al., 1993; Arístegui et al., 1997; Barton et al., 1998). On a biological level, these phenomena entail an increase in planktonic production. Likewise, the water masses from the Northwest African upwelling displaced offshore towards the Canary Islands by the Ekman transport and the upwelling filaments may reach the eastern part of the Canary region. Consequently, this region straddles the transition between the cool, nutrient-rich waters of the coastal upwelling regime and the warmer, oligotrophic waters of the open ocean (Barton et al., 1998). All of this results in variability of the oceanographic conditions in the Canary region, both in a longitudinal and a latitudinal sense. Thus, it is expected that the effects will be manifested at the biological level, affecting the whole trophic chain.
Resources Exploited
Other resources: Local costal insular stocks of finfishes.
Related Fisheries - Fishery(ies) switching activity seasonally or targeting the same stock
Spain Artisanal trap finfish fishery - Canary Islands waters
Spain Artisanal handlines and poles fishery - Canary Islands waters
Vessel Type
Trap setters nei
Flag State

They are wooden vessels of 7.5 to 12.4 m in length and around 200 h.p.

2 persons (Spanish nationality) (2009)
Fleet segment
Fleet artisanal segment typical from Canary Islands
Fisherfolks Community
Canarian fishermen from El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera and Tenerife
Fishing Gear
Traps (nei)

The shrimper trap is a frame inside-covered by a net o “forro”. These traps can have either one or several entries or mouths, with a trunk-conic proper for shrimps. They have one entry for putting the bait and taking out the catches. There is a modality of “floating shrimp traps”. These are constituted by a main cylindrical framework, made by a plastic mesh with two metal rings that give them stiffness. Posterior and anterior parts of the trap are conical, being the anterior outside-oriented and the posterior inside-oriented. There is an entry with a cap in the anterior part. The “matadero” is in the posterior part. Every trap carries one rigid float, tied with a nylon rope in the anterior ring of the main cylindrical body.


All year long

Environmental limitations: Strong trade winter during summer months

Trip Duration
1 fishing day
El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera and Tenerife (Canary Islands)
Fishery Indicators
TypeMeasureValueUnitTime period
Nominal EffortNumber of vessels 50vessels1999
ParticipationNumber of fishermen 100persons2009
ProductionCatch total16tonnes1999-2004
Post Harvest
Fish Utilisation
Local consumption
Local markets
Management unit: No

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Food and Environment
Mandate: Management.  
Area under national jurisdiction: Spain
Maritime Area: Exclusive Economic Zone Areas (EEZ).  
Management Body/Authority(ies): Office of Agriculture, Livestock, Fishery and Water, Canary Islands Government
Mandate: Management.  
Area under national jurisdiction: Spain
Maritime Area: Exclusive Economic Zone Areas (EEZ).  
Management Regime
Law 6/2007, 13 April, modification of the law 17/2003, 10 April (BOC 77, 23/4/2003; BOE 162, 8/7/2003), of Fishery in Canaries (BOC 78, 19/04/2007; BOE 124, 24/05/2007). Management measures of the Spanish purse seiners in Canary Islands are included in the “Law if the Fishery” of the Canaries (BOC 78, 19/04/2007; BOE 124, 24/05/2007).
Management Methods

Conservation and management measures with focus on Effort control, catch control, fish size limits and environment protection.

  • Aquatic species-related measures
    minimum sizes (established by Spanish legislation in the National Fishing Ground of Canary Islands). Prohibition of catches of certain species.
  • Gear-related measures
    Gear type (floating shrimp traps are allowed, with maximum of 57 cm diameter and 56 cm high and minimum 12 mm mesh size ), gear dimension (maximum of 25 shrimp traps per vessel is allowed; maximum of 75 floating traps per vessel is allowed); and mesh size (minimum mesh size of 12 mm).
  • Fishing activity-related measures
    Closed areas: 3 Marine Reserves: La Restinga (El Hierro), Fuencaliente (La Palma), La Graciosa (North-Lanzarote).
Status and Trends
General decrease in catches and fish sizes
Source of Information
Arístegui, J. et al., 1997. The influence of island generated eddies on chlorophyll distribution: a study of mesoscale variation around Gran Canaria. Deep-Sea Res. I, 44, 71–96.
Barton, E. D., J. Arístegui, P. Tett, M. Canton, J. Garcia-Braun, S. Hernandez-Leon, L. Nykjaer, C. Almeida, J. Almunia, S. Ballesteros, G. Basterretxea, J. Escanez, L. Garcia-Weill, A. Hernandez-Guerra, F. Lopez-Laatzen, R. Molina, M.F. Montero, E. Navarro-Perez, J.M. Rodriguez, K. van Lenning, H. Velez and K. Wild, 1998. The coastal transition zone of the Canary Current upwelling region. Prog. Oceanogr., 41, 455–504.
Boletín Oficial de Canarias, 2007. Ley 6/2007, 13 abril, de modificación de la Ley 17/2003, 10 abril (BOC 77, 23.4.2003; BOE 162, 8.7.2003), de Pesca de Canarias. BOC 78, 19/04/2007.
Boletín Oficial del Estado, 2007. Ley 6/2007, de 13 de abril, de modificación de la Ley 17/2003, de 10 de abril, de pesca de Canarias. BOE 124, 24/05/2007.
Fiekas,V., J. Elken, T.J. Müller, A. Aitsam and W. Zenk, 1992. A view of the Canary Basin thermocline circulation in winter. J. Gephys. Res., 97, 12495–12510.
Hernández-Guerra, A., J. Arístegui and M. Cantón, 1993. Phytoplankton pigment patterns in the Canary Islands area as determined using Coastal Zone Colour Scanner data. Int. J. Remote Sen., 14, 1431–1437.
Mittelstaedt, E., 1991. The ocean boundary along the Northwest African coast: Circulation and oceanographic properties at the sea surface. Prog. Oceanogr., 26, 307–355.
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