Fisheries Areas Network

Country Factsheet

Spain - 41 FLAGs - 125.7 M€

Spain is home to the biggest fishing industry in Europe and has a long tradition of maritime activities such as fishing and aquaculture, but also fish processing, tourism and marine sports. In Spain, the implementation of CLLD is organised at regional level, while the national managing authority is ultimately responsible for the programme and plays a coordinating and reporting role. The main challenges facing Spain’s fisheries areas are high unemployment; aging populations in fisheries areas and in the sector; reconciling the presence of other, growing economic sectors (e.g. tourism) with fisheries; and pressure of economic activities on the coastal environment. These challenges are the focus of the 41 Spanish FLAGs’ strategies.

CLLD Programme

CLLD Context: 

Given Spain´s political structure, the implementation of CLLD is organised at regional level, while the national managing authority is ultimately responsible for the programme and plays a coordinating and reporting role.

The country has some 200 fishing ports and boasts a diverse sector with 60 different vessel segments, ranging from small-scale coastal fishing to large-scale and long-distance fishing. It is ranked as the first producer in EU27 for fishing and aquaculture, and the seafood processing industry competes on the international market.

The overall employment of these activities represents more than 70 000 employees (in full-time equivalents), split into fishing (over 33 000 FTE), aquaculture (over 19 000 FTE) and processing (over 18 000 FTE). Given the links between these sectors and others, such as energy, transport, tourism, and research, the marine sector has a very strong socio-economic importance in Spanish society.

A two page summary of the Operational Programme including contact details of the Managing Authority is available at the following link.

Contact details of the managing authority can be found here.

More information about national EMFF programmes can be found here.


Axis 4 achievements (2007-2013): 

During the EFF period, FLAG strategies focused on supporting sustainable and viable local economies in fisheries communities: creating employment and economic diversification; improving the environmental quality of the coast; and enhancing regional, interregional and transnational cooperation. As such, projects tended to focus on:

  • Adding value to local fisheries products through shorter marketing circuits, labelling and traceability systems and the development of new and more competitive products from local fish and shellfish.
  • Linking fishing to tourism, including the development of new activities and coastal routes to promote the local sector and its heritage.
  • Developing the business skills of fishermen and others in the community and improving the organization of local fisheries actors to ensure more effective resource management and access to markets.
CLLD objectives and challenges for 2014-2020: 

Many of Spain’s coastal areas traditionally dependent on fishing have undergone a process of structural change to the economy as well as social and environmental changes. Low population density is a challenge in some areas, while others are under heavy pressure from urbanisation and the growing tourist economy. A lack of enterprise capacity at local level makes it hard for many communities to adapt as artisanal fisheries start to lose their traditional importance in terms of providing work.  As such, the main challenges that community-led local development will have to address in Spain’s fisheries areas in the coming years are:

  • Tackling unemployment
  • Aging populations in fisheries areas and in the sector
  • Reconciling the presence of other, growing economic sectors (e.g. tourism) with fisheries
  • Pressure of economic activities on the coastal environment

To cope with these challenges, the objectives for CLLD in Spain 2014-2020 are:

  • Diversification inside and outside the fisheries sector.
  • Adding value to fisheries products (e.g. through direct sales and new products, labelling and quality brands, the use of less commercial species, and the use of discards for non-human use).
  • Improvement of the quality of the fisheries tourism offer (e.g. visibility of traditional crafts, gastronomy, quality accommodation, routes to protected areas).
  • Boosting innovation (e.g. to improve product quality, health, strengthen links between producers and consumers…).
  • Supporting entrepreneurship and new technologies.
  • Supporting cooperation (sharing knowledge, experience of experience and good practice)

Since the 2007-2013 period, the total budget for CLLD in Spain has been increased from €77.7M to €125.7M. The number of FLAGs has also increased from 31 to 41, present in all 10 coastal regions, of which six were already implementing Axis 4 under the EFF (Galicia, Andalusia, Asturias, Catalonia, Cantabria and the Canary Islands) and four set up FLAGs for the first time in the 2014-2020 period (Murcia, the Basque Country, Valencia and the Balearic Islands).

This implies an average budget of around €3M per FLAG, however budgets range from under €500 000 in some the Canary FLAGs to around €10M for certain Galician FLAGs.

CLLD Budget

Total budget: 
€125 685 603
  • EMFF budget for CLLD: 
    €106 832 761
  • Co-funding: 
    €18 852 842
  • Proportion of CLLD in EMFF budget: 
Number of FLAGs: 
Average budget per FLAG: 
€3 065 503

National Network

The Spanish FLAG Network (Red Española de Grupos de Pesca), officially launched in the previous period (March 2010) was reinforced for the 2014-2020 period and has currently an annual budget of approximately €200 000 and two full-time persons coordinating support activities for the FLAGs. The network has been set up under the leadership of the Managing Authority and is in regular touch with the regional intermediary bodies and the FLAGs.

It collects and disseminates information on its website and via its newsletter, including good practice examples and interviews with those involved in implementing CLLD. It also organizes technical meetings to facilitate sharing of experiences among FLAGs and regional authorities and has recently enabled an online forum to post questions and answers that are relevant to all IBs and FLAGs in the country

In some regions (e.g. Galicia and Andalusia), FLAGs are also supported by regional support networks – to improve implementation, share experience and foster cooperation – including with Leader LAGs in regions such as Asturias.

Click here for the National Network contact details.

The FLAGs and their areas

The Spanish coastal areas are extremely diverse, ranging geographically from areas on the northwest Atlantic coast of Galicia, to areas in the Bay of Biscay and others on the eastern Mediterranean coasts of the country. Many have rich flora and fauna and cover different types of protected areas, including marine protected areas, while other areas are grappling with intense pressure from urbanization.

Calls for FLAGs were launched in the different regions between 2016 and 2017 and 41 were selected: 8 in Galicia, 7 in Asturias, 2 in Cantabria, 1 in the Basque Country, 2 in Catalonia, 4 in Valencia, 2 in the Balearic Islands, 1 in Murcia, 7 in Andalusia and 7 in the Canary Islands.


For the EMFF funding period, 26 cooperation projects were reported by the managing authority by December 2021. Many involved regional cooperation projects, for example on marine tourism between Galician FLAGs or setting up a network of seafaring women in Catalonia. Others spanned more than one region or involved FLAGs from other countries.

For information on how cooperation was programmed and organised in Spain, click here. 


Code Name Region Surface area (km²) Population Population density (per km²) Employment in fisheries*
ES201 Vigo – A Guarda FLAG
514 145558 358 4812
ES202 Pontevedra FLAG
293 79152 548 3609
ES203 Arousa FLAG
425 153708 361 11498
ES204 Costa Sostible FLAG
594 61832 104 2460
ES205 Costa da Morte FLAG
962 81442 84 1488
ES206 Southern Artabro Gulf FLAG 338 143749 426 1966
ES207 Northern Artabro Gulf FLAG 364 89978 247 700
ES208 Mariña-Ortegal FLAG
1155 83838 73 2361
ES209 Oscos-Eo FLAG 208 7722 37 12
ES210 Navia-Porcía FLAG
273 20038 73 180
ES211 Ese-Entrecabos FLAG
454 18004 41 385
ES212 Bajo Nalón FLAG 44 6075 140 25
ES213 Cabo Peñas FLAG 148 21335 144 107
ES214 La Sidra FLAG 374 18389 49 90
ES215 Eastern Asturias FLAG
370 22330 55 87
ES216 Western Cantabria FLAG
84 15126 180 413
ES217 Eastern Cantabria FLAG 130 62763 483 2229
ES218 Basque FLAG 195 147491 755
ES219 Costa Brava FLAG
360 171936 479 906
ES220 Ebro FLAG
510 71185 140 1544
ES221 La Plana FLAG
273 112440 410 1144
ES222 La Marina FLAG
344 232513 677 1084
ES223 La Safor FLAG 102 122522 1202 1084
ES224 Santa Pola FLAG
94 47246 504 481
ES225 Murcia FLAG
1245 356851 287 538
ES226 Menorca FLAG
Balearic Islands
702 91170 130 150
ES227 Ibiza FLAG 654 154189 236 480
ES228 Almeria Coast FLAG 1489 285456 192
ES229 Western Almeria FLAG
190 129290 654 413
ES230 Granada Coast FLAG
448 117463 96 143
ES231 Malaga FLAG 465 384785 829 1277
ES232 Cadiz Estrecho FLAG
710 70000 100 2550
ES233 Noroeste de Cádiz FLAG
517 211029 408 830
ES234 Huelva FLAG
550 103385 188 3000
ES235 Lanzerote FLAG
Canary Islands
900 143209 169 194
ES236 Fuerteventura FLAG
Canary Islands
1660 74983 45 120
ES237 Gran Canaria FLAG 882 232000 263
ES238 Tenerife FLAG
Canary Islands
1680 818740 487 622
ES239 La Gomera FLAG 370 20976 57
ES240 La Palma FLAG 708 82346 116
ES241 El Hierro FLAG 269 10587 39
(*)according to the information received from the FLAG


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