Spatiotemporal patterns of distribution of sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, and sea bream, Sparus aurata, and their influence on artisanal fisheries are explored before and after an escape event that released 1.5 million fish into the wild off La Palma (Canary Islands). Data were collected by in situ visual census and first sale data as a proxy of artisanal fisheries landings. Permutational anova of escapee abundances in shallow coastal habitats revealed consistent spatial patterns that linked densities of these fish to distance from escape point, whereas temporal patterns were related to a higher biomass released during winter. A nearby marine protected area did not show different densities of escaped fish. Local artisanal fleet catches accurately reflected the massive escape event and offer the main contingency force to mitigate the potential negative effects of massive escape events over shallow coastal habitats.