Understanding and predicting patterns of distribution and abundance of marine resources is important for conservation and management purposes in small-scale artisanal fisheries and industrial fisheries worldwide. The goose barnacle (Pollicipes pollicipes) is an important shellfish resource and its distribution is closely related to wave exposure at different spatial scales. We modelled the abundance (percent coverage) of P. pollicipes as a function of a simple wave exposure index based on fetch estimates from digitized coastlines at different spatial scales. The model accounted for 47.5% of the explained deviance and indicated that barnacle abundance increases non-linearly with wave exposure at both the smallest (metres) and largest (kilometres) spatial scales considered in this study. Distribution maps were predicted for the study region in SW Portugal. Our study suggests that the relationship between fetch-based exposure indices and P. pollicipes percent cover may be used as a simple tool for providing stakeholders with information on barnacle distribution patterns. This information may improve assessment of harvesting grounds and the dimension of exploitable areas, aiding management plans and supporting decision making on conservation, harvesting pressure and surveillance strategies for this highly appreciated and socio-economically important marine resource.