Andalucía's most expensive catches

Fish market in Malaga.
Fish market in Malaga. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • Malaga has always been closely linked to the fishing industry due to its proximity to the sea and the abundant and diverse seafood available

Many tourists when they think of Malaga, think of the beach, the sand, the sun, beach bars, espetos (sardines on skewers) and fried fish. And partly they are right. Malaga has 161 kilometres of coastline with enviable beaches. It is also a city that has always been associated with fish. In few provinces you can enjoy such a wide variety of fresh fish. The Malaga fishing fleet is made up of about 250 boats that net about 150 different species.

Malaga province has fishing ports in Estepona, Marbella, Fuengirola, Malaga and Caleta de Vélez. Last year closed with 7,023,946 kilos of fish caught, worth around 22,334,570 euros at market. The most fished species is the sardine (2,984,862 kilos in 2017), followed by the anchovy (769,898), horse mackerel (629,898), octopus (563,653) and red mullet (106,454).

However, these are not the most expensive; Malaga's dearest catches include lobster, squid, langoustines, crawfish, grouper, grenadier and monkfish.

Crayfish (langostinos) are the most expensive; the average price for a kilo in 2017 was 47.07 euros and only 89 kilos were caught in total. They are fished all year round although they are most abundant April to June and November to January.

European spiny lobsters (langosta) are the second most expensive at an average price of 38.69 euros per kilo. Last year 419 kilos were caught off the coast of Andalucía.

Langoustines or scampi (cigala) are another highly priced shellfish averaging 28.15 euros a kilo in 2017. Around 24, 870 kilos were fished here last year although around 200 tonnes are caught in the Mediterranean annually.

Lobsters (bogavante) are a different species to the European spiny lobster and a different colour, usually a blue-black (the European spiny lobster is an orange-beige) that turns red when cooked. They averaged 25.37 euros per kilo last year although only 399 kilos were caught. The peak lobster fishing time is between October and January and also in April.

White prawns (gamba blanca) are the most common prawn fished off the Malaga coastline although numbers have dropped over the last fifteen years. Around 85,685 kilos were caught last year and they averaged 16.79 euros a kilo at market.

White prawns are fished all year round although they are most abundant between November and December, in April, July and August.

Baby squid (puntillas) are a delicacy and the most expensive of the molluscs at an average price of 16.85 euros a kilo. Prices go through the roof when they are tiny and between 6-8cm. The bigger ones measure up to 15cm.

In fourth place, after sardines, anchovies and horse mackerel, is the common or rock octopus (pulpo de roca), with 563, 436 kilos caught last year. Average price at market last year was 7.65 euros a kilo.

The unusual red scorpion fish (cabracho) is caught off the Malaga coast throughout the year. Around 1, 371 kilos were sold at market last year at an average price of 10.75 euros per kilo.

Grouper (mero) is a very coveted fish. Last year just 398 kilos were caught off Malaga and around 65 tonnes along the whole of the Andalusian coast. The average price was 22.04 euros per kilo last year with the majority of the catch coming from the ports of Algeciras and Conil de la Frontera.