The sinking of the Prestige oil tanker on 18 November 2002 off the coast of Galicia, Spain, had important economic, environmental and social ramifications. The aim of this paper is to carry out an initial analysis of the costs related to a halt in fishing activities in Galicia between November 2002 and December 2003. This involves three different steps: an assessment of the cost of the preventative and palliative measures introduced by Spanish public administrations (compensation for affected fishermen and shellfish fisherman); an indirect evaluation of the implications of the disaster (via a study of data on production); and a direct appraisal of the economic impact of the event (reduction in income), using questionnaires completed by a representative sample of fishermen and shellfish fisherman. The results obtained from these three methods of estimating losses are compatible. By December 2003, losses to the Galician fishing sector stood at an estimated EUR 76 million.