It’s a real hecatomb… The brown crab, or Dungeness crab, adored for the quality of its flesh, and especially for its claws, is fished a lot in the region, particularly in northern Finistère. But now, for three years, the resource has continued to dry up. And the consequences are serious for fishermen…
“There will soon be only two deep-sea potters left (boats dedicated to offshore fishing for large crustaceans) in France against more than 15 ten years ago, sighs Philippe Perrot, vice-president Nord-Finistère of the Fisheries Committee. The others have locked up.”
The situation got worse with Brexit
A vessel of this type is between 20 and 24 m long for five to six people and up to 1,200 lockers on board. However, its fishing is considered “clean”, because it respects the cycles, tides and sizes of the animals caught. “We are in contact with researchers who are trying to understand what is decimating these emblematic crabs in the region. Two potential viruses have been identified at this time, but more is awaited. »
This traditional profession, which was found mainly in the ports of Roscoff and Moguériec, is also the victim of a hardship which accelerates the retirement age… but also of Brexit.
Justin Le Berre, from the La Capitainerie fishmonger in Brest, explains: “The resource is in trouble, it shows. A simple observation: we no longer work with our privileged caseyeur who no longer has access to the English coast… And there are fewer and fewer crabs as we had before: fairly large males”. “We will rather be on small sizes like this,” he adds, pointing to a sleeper who is neither very awake nor very strong.
The prices, at the auction as well as in the supermarket or fishmonger, bear witness to this. For example, at that of Leclerc du Relecq-Kerhuon, there are currently flocks of spider crabs at 3.95 euros each, against… nearly 14 euros for the rare crabs fighting a duel in the basins.