Swordfish is a migratory species caught by the national fishing fleet, whose nominal catches almost duplicate over the last decade, reaching 3 362 tonnes in 2019. The income of auction sales, from landings in national fishery ports, followed the same trend and more than doubled, rising from EUR 2.2 million in 2009 to EUR 5.4 million in 2019. However, the swordfish caught is mainly intended for the foreign market, with most of the catches being unloaded in non-national ports (since 2014, on average, only 1/5 of the catches are unloaded in national ports). The trade balance of swordfish is positive, having grown over the last decade at an average annual rate of 8.1%, reaching EUR 32 million in 2019.
The increase of catches by the Portuguese fleet is associated to the negotiations with Spain to exchange quotas. The transfer of quota from Spain, which in 2009 represented 4.2% (78 tonnes) of the quota allocated to Portugal, reached a record in 2019 (1 360 tonnes), which made it possible to double the fishing opportunities by the national fleet.