The case of the anchovy is not unique (see Cantabrian anchovies threatened with wipe-out). Several Spanish fishing grounds are overexploited and run the risk of collapse according to the European Environmental Agency and the Consejo Internacional para la Explotación del Mar (CIEM). Among the fish affected are: haddock (merluza), monkfish (rape), John Doy (gallo ) and langoustine (cigala). Meanwhile, Spanish governments of both colours continue to request fishing quotas above those recommended by experts. Europe usually grants them.
This is particularly the case in the in the Spanish Bay of Biscay (Mar Cantábrico) Haddock catches have fallen from 16,000 tonnes to 7.000 in the less than 20 years. While the CIEM proposes a total ban in the Cantabrian sea, the government aware of the huge political cost suggests a 10% cut a year. Anchovy catches have been below levels permitted by Brussels in recent years. Monkfish catches here have fallen from 10,000 tonnes to 3.200 since 1987. CIEM have also been calling for a total stop on monkfish and langoustine. The government claims there's a lack of scientific evidence which was the exactly the same argument it used before the collapse of the anchovy. It wouldn't be the first time that a fish virtually disappeared from these waters. In 1968 9,586 tonnes of bream (besugo) were caught. These days just a few boxes are brought in.
Source: adapted from El País