Costa Brava is a crucial breeding ground for endangered sharks

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blue sharks

An important discovery has been made on the Costa Brava, in particular at Cap de Creus, which is crucial for the protection of shark species in the Mediterranean.

Cap de Creus appears to be a ‘stable’ breeding ground for the tintorera shark, a species currently threatened with extinction. This is evident from recent research, initiated by the Departament d’Acció Climàtica and carried out in collaboration with the Sotamar diving center in Cadaqués.

A breeding area of vital importance

Researchers observed about 90 specimens between late spring and mid-August. Ten of these were newborn baby sharks measuring between 35 and 45 centimeters. These observations confirm that births are concentrated between mid-June and July. These young sharks are fully capable of taking care of themselves at birth.

Unique phenomenon in the Mediterranean

The tintorera shark, one of seventy shark species in the Mediterranean, carefully chooses its breeding grounds. The fact that Cap de Creus is one of the few known breeding areas in the western Mediterranean makes this discovery all the more significant.

Dedication of scientists

The project, set up between 2018 and 2019 by Jordi Riera from Sotamar, has led to more intensive study in recent years. Researchers have been collecting a wealth of data on the tintorera shars in this area. They conducted more than 54 diving expeditions between April and September.

Jordi Ruiz from Acció Climàtica emphasizes the exceptional nature of this data. “The sharks have a gestation period of 12 months. So when they come here it coincides with births and reproduction. This means we have them here at a crucial time in their lives.”


The Departament d’Acció Climàtica plans further collaboration with specialized teams in Catalonia. Under which, the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar and the University of Barcelona. This way they try to better understand the behavior and movements of these sharks. Which will lead to a more extensive monitoring and census program.

Also read: In recent years shars have been seen on these Spanish beaches

The second phase of the research, planned for 2024 with a budget of 50,000 euros, will focus on tagging individual sharks and taking tissue samples. “We want to understand where these sharks live. After all, the biggest threats to their survival may lie outside Catalan waters,” Ruiz said.

Ecological hotspot

Cap de Creus is distinguished by its steep relief and richness of food. A combination which makes it an ideal breeding ground for the tintorera sharks. Once the young are born and start looking for food, they have a higher chance of surviving in this area.

Catalan waters are home to 26 different shark species, many of which are threatened with extinction.


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