Mercamadrid: one location, 150,000 t of seafood

Aslak Berge

Madrid’s fish market is Europe’s largest

The night’s traded fish have been spirited away. The empty stalls are being washed out. Although Mercamadrid offers over 400 species, there’s just the slightest trace of fish scent.

“It smells like the sea,” Mercamadrid’s communications advisor says to SalmonBusiness.

In the homeland of paella and tapas, seafood is deadly serious. Night brings the last opportunity to secure goods before markets close for Easter.

“It’ll be very, very busy,” she says.

“It’s the second-largest fish market in the world after Tsukiji in Tokyo. But, we have more species and variation than Tsukiji. We bring in fish and seafood by plane and truck. A lot of salmon comes from Norway and Denmark. Salmon is one of the most commercial products in this market,” she says.

Fresh market
“It’s a wholesale market for supermarkets, fish traders, restaurants and catering. Our turnover is 150,000 tonnes a year. Spain is the largest seafood market in Europe. The most important species ahead of salmon is merluza (hake),” she says, adding that most what’s here is fresh, but some is frozen.

She says cod, octopus and shrimp are also central to this 44,000-square-metre marketplace. Outside, along the loading bays, trailer-semis are about to replaced by smaller cube vans. From this hub, not far from the Spanish capital’s centre, billions of euro in seafood is processed and redistributed every year.

Small town
“We have two (ice-packing plants) here. This is a little city inside the city of Madrid. We have 15,000 people trading here every day. There are about 8,000 people that work here.”

It isn’t just seafood on sale here. Meat, fruit and vegetables are, too. Vegetable sales continue through the lunch hour, Tuesday.

“We have a significant agricultural production here in Spain. We have a lot of oranges and tomatoes from Valencia,” she says, smiling.


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