The area affected, near El Cabrón beach in the east of Gran Canaria, is popular with divers for its diverse marine wildlife.
Canary authorities were alerted by locals on Wednesday afternoon that several oil stains had appeared at sea, spanning over a kilometre of coastline, Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE reported.
Although the cause hasn’t been officially confirmed, it is thought a ship located in international waters between Gran Canaria and the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura cleaned out its bilge into the sea.
Over 100 divers, municipal workers and volunteers have been helping to clear up the damaging oil spill since Wednesday.
The news comes just a month after The Spanish government gave oil giant Repsol the green light to explore for oil and gas off the coast of the Canary Islands.
“The spill at El Cabrón is a minute example of the potential dangers we face with the oil exploration,” Canary President Paulino Rivero announced.