Total marine fisheries catches within the exclusive economic zone of the Canary Islands, Spain, were reconstructed to include catches from the various small-scale artisanal fleets and their discards, as well as subsistence, recreational and other unreported catch. Total reconstructed catch was estimated at 38600 t in 1950, increasing to 81200 t in 1985, declining to approximately 43700 t year–1 in the early 2000s, and finally spiking to about 65300 t year–1 by the late 2000s. These catches coincide with a severe depletion of fish stocks, especially those of demersal species, due in part to fishing overcapacity in the artisanal sector, despite attempts to limit effort by the government. Spain only started to report catches to the FAO in 2006, and from 2006 to 2010 reconstructed catch was seven times the reported catch. Nearly 70% of this catch was from the recreational fishing sector, due in part to technological advancements and increased investments in the construction and improvement of secondary ports.