Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is the capital of Catalonia, Spain. As the city is in the Mediterranean Sea, it’s natural that some species of sharks call the seas of Barcelona home.
There are 47 species of sharks in Barcelona. However, shark attacks are rare, with only one non-fatal incident registered on July 3, 1926. The most common sharks in Barcelona are Blue Sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, Blacktip Sharks, Grey Nurse Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, and even Great Whites.
In this article, you’ll learn all the details about sharks in Barcelona. Including shark species, recent beach closures due to shark activity, and the few attacks ever registered in or near the capital of Catalonia.
Finally, I wrote an entire section listing all the attacks (provoked and unprovoked) that ever happened in Spain and discovered through data analysis which should be the “usual suspect,” that is, the shark species that is involved in most of the attacks in the country.
To learn all about sharks in Barcelona, keep reading.
Are There Sharks In Barcelona?
Sharks are all over the Mediterranean Sea, including in Barcelona. The shallow waters near the beaches are not very inviting to the sharks, but eventual sightings occur in the region.
As people are not used to seeing many of these incredible animals, some may think that there are no sharks in the area. Nonetheless, it’s not true. It’s a common misconception about sharks. That’s why it’s important to remember: just because you can’t see a shark does not mean they aren’t there.
There are 47 species of sharks in Barcelona. All forty-seven shark species live in the waters of the Mediterranean. Still, the most common species near Catalonia’s capital are the Blue Sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, Blacktip Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, and Great Whites.
Despite the presence of a considerable amount of species in the area, shark attacks in Barcelona and even in the entire country are rare events. In Spain, since 1764, 9 shark-related deaths have occurred (the last in 1912). Still, shark sightings are becoming more frequent.
Less than a month ago, five beaches were closed in Barcelona due to the presence of 3 sharks: two blue sharks and one shortfin mako shark. Blue sharks are regular visitors to Barcelona, but the Shortfin Mako caught attention as it’s not a common species in the Balearic Sea. The sharks that can be more easily found in Barcelona are:
- Blue Sharks
- Sand Tiger Sharks
- Nurse Sharks
- Hammerhead Sharks
- Blacktip Sharks
- Great White Sharks
- Spinner Sharks
- Tiger Sharks
- Bull Sharks
This list shows an interesting fact: some of these sharks are considered dangerous (including the White Shark, which has been credited with more fatal attacks on humans than any other species of shark). Still, shark attacks in Barcelona are almost non-existent. Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks are also very aggressive and have been involved in hundreds of incidents with humans around the world.
This is a clear indication that, although they did happen, shark attacks on humans are extremely rare, and most of the time, they happen by the mistake of animals or situations caused by human beings.
Related Article: Are There Sharks In Rio De Janeiro? (Rio Sharks Guide)
Sharks In Barcelona: What Species Are There?
In total, as said before, there are 47 species of sharks in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Even though there’s a chance for all of them to be found in Barcelona, some are easier to found, therefore, more common to the area.
- Total Number of Shark Species In Barcelona: 47
- Most Frequently Seen: Blue Sharks
- Most Dangerous/Aggressive Species: Great White Sharks, Bull Sharks, Tiger Sharks
- Biggest Sharks Found In Barcelona: Great White Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks
Tiger sharks, Bull sharks, and White sharks are commonly referred to as “The Big Three” for their involvement in shark attacks, and the three species can be found in the Mediterranean Sea (and Barcelona). Still, the number of attacks is very low and sightings, especially of Great Whites, are rare.
In the following table, you can check the top 10 species of sharks that are more common in Barcelona.
|Species||Scientific Name||Max Size||Aggressiveness|
|Blue Sharks||Prionace glauca||Up to 4 m|
(Curious, Approach Humans)
|Sand Tiger Sharks||Carcharias taurus||Up to 3.2 m|
|Nurse Sharks||Ginglymostoma cirratum||Up to 4.2 m|
|Hammerhead Sharks||Sphyrna mokarran||Up to 6.1 m|
|Blacktip Sharks||Carcharhinus limbatus||Up to 2 m|
|Great White Sharks||Carcharodon carcharias||Up to 7 m|
|Very Aggressive |
|Catsharks||Poroderma pantherinum||Up to 1 m|
|Spinner Sharks||Carcharhinus brevipinna||Up to 2 m|
|Tiger Sharks||Galeocerdo cuvier||Up to 5 m |
|Very Aggressive |
|Bull Sharks||Carcharhinus leucas||Up to 2.1 m|
|Very Aggressive |
Those are the most common sharks found in the Mediterranean and Barcelona. But as you know now, they’re not the only ones. There are at least 37 more species in the area. In the list below, you can check some other species that call Barcelona waters its home.
- Portuguese Dogfish
- Gulper and Little Gulper shark
- Sixgill shark
- Dusky shark
- Silky shark
- Bignose shark
- Milk shark
- Thresher shark species
- Longnose spurdog
- Piked dogfish
- Sixgill shark species
- Velvet Belly shark
- Tope shark
- Smoothhound shark
- Cookiecutter shark
- Nursehound shark
- Little sleeper shark
- Smalltooth Sand Tiger shark
- Angel sharks (one of the species involved in most of the attacks in Spain)
- Angular Roughshark
- Kitefin shark
- Longfin Mako shark
Related Article: Are There Sharks In The English Channel? (Full Guide)
Shark Attacks In Barcelona: All Incidents
Angel Sharks and Blue Sharks are the species involved in most of the attacks in Spain. In Barcelona, the one and the only incident involved a 2-meter-long shark of unidentified species and a male called Sebastian Llopis Puges, who suffered no injuries.
However, this incident is in check, as the GSAF authority C. Moore marked this episode as questionable. It doesn’t mean it never happened, just that there are gaps in the story, like if it was a shark or maybe a dolphin or any other sea animal.
In the following table, you can find all the incidents involving sharks ever registered in Spain. There is only one episode in Barcelona (discussed above) and one near Barcelona, in Badalona, Eastern Catalonia. It was an unprovoked fatal shark attack on July 25, 1864. The victim was a male that was bathing in the evening. The shark species was not identified.
|26 May 2020||Canary Islands||Famara Beach||Playing||Unprovoked||No|
|16-Sep-2017||Canary Islands||Gran Canaria||Body surfing||Unprovoked||No|
|26-Aug-2017||Castellón||Grao de Moncofa||Swimming||Invalid||No|
|17-Jun-2017||Ibiza Island||Playa d’en Bossa||Swimming||Unprovoked||No|
|29-Jul-2016||Alicante Province||Arenales del Sol||Swimming||Unprovoked||No|
|25-Dec-2015||Grand Canary Island||Gran Canaria||Swimming||Unprovoked||No|
|03-Dec-2014||Granada||Off Motril||Fishing for blue sharks||Provoked||No|
|Sep-2014||Catalonia||Salou||Playing with an air mattress||Unprovoked||No|
|07-Jul-2013||Catalonia||Sant Marti d’Empuries||Swimming||Invalid||No|
|16-Jul-2010||Grand Canary Island||Sardina del Norte||Swimming||Provoked||No|
|13-Jul-2006||Alicante||San Juan Beach||Swimming||Invalid||No|
|26-Jul-1980||Canary Islands||Tenerife||Skin diving||Unprovoked||No|
|Late 1970s||Canary Islands||Tenerife||Spearfishing||Unprovoked||No|
|1962||Catalonia||Aigua Blava||Dangling feet in the water||Unprovoked||No|
|03-Jul-1926||Sants-Montjic||Barcelona||Bathing||Invalid: missing more information||No|
|08-Jul-1916||Gran Canaria||Las Palmas||Diving||Unprovoked||No|
|1912||Balearics||Isla Cabrera||Fell into the water||Unprovoked||Yes|
|28-Aug-1908||Galicia||Cape Finisterre||Fell overboard from P&O steamship Arabia||Unprovoked||Yes|
|18-Jul-1908||Canary Islands||La Palma||Shark caught with human remains.||Invalid: Shark involvement|
prior to death unconfirmed.
|22-Sep-1879||Valencia||Castellon de la Plana||Fishing||Provoked||No|
|15-Aug-1862||Unknown||A Spanish port||Bathing||Unprovoked||No|
|02-Aug-1862||Malaga||Fuengirola||–||Invalid: possible drowning and scavenging.||Yes|
|13-Jul-1862||Cádiz||Off Algeciras||Swimming alongside the SS Kearsarge||Unprovoked||Yes|
|26-Jul-1836||Unknown||Unknown||Shark caught with human remains.||Invalid: Shark involvement|
prior to death unconfirmed.
|08-Jul-1819||Cádiz||Unknown||–||Invalid: no injury, no attack||No|
|Before 2012||Canary Islands||Tenerife||Skin diving||Unprovoked||No|
Are there sharks at Barcelona beaches? There are 47 species of sharks that can be found on Barcelona beaches. However, shark attacks and even sightings in this region of the Mediterranean Sea are very rare. The more common shark in the area is the Blue Shark.
Are there shark attacks in Spain? There are shark attacks in Spain, but they are very rare. Since 1764, 44 incidents with sharks have been registered in the country: 29 unprovoked, 5 provoked, and 10 invalid registers (missing information), with 9 deaths in total.
Do great white sharks live in Spain? Great White Sharks can be found in Spain, but sightings are rare. There are 47 species of sharks in the Mediterranean Sea, and the most common to see in Spain are the Blue Sharks and Angel Sharks.
What sharks live near Spain? Forty-seven shark species are living near Spain, and the more common are: Blue Sharks, Angel Sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Blacktip Sharks, Great White Sharks, Catsharks, Spinner Sharks, Tiger Sharks, and Bull Sharks.
- Shark Attack Data: https://www.sharkattackdata.com/place/spain
- Global Shark Attack File (GSAF): https://www.sharkattackfile.net/
- Florida Museum: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/
- International Shark Attack File (ISAF): https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/shark-attacks/