operation “dead port” of fishermen in France

operation “dead port” of fishermen in France

Operation “dead port”, this Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March. Not a boat at sea, not a fish sold, no fish trade, no processing. This is the first time that the National Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Farming (CNPMEM) has called for mobilization on a national and European scale.

“The cup is full and we need to give a future to all the players in our sector.re », he indicates. After three years marked by the Covid, Brexit and fuel crises, the European Commission’s action plan for “sustainable and resilient fisheries” is not passing.

Published on February 21, 2023, it notably provides for the prohibition of trawl fishing in marine protected areas (MPAs), such as Natura 2000 zones and marine protected areas, in order to reduce the impact of fishing on the seabed. sailors, “marine biodiversity hotspots”. The Commission wants to gradually extend these areas from 12% of European waters to 30% by 2030.

The profession considers itself the victim of yet another “attack”

For fishermen, already faced with a whole series of unresolved issues in recent years (delay in payment for work stoppages for the biological rest of soles, non-payment of fuel aid, lack of harmonization of fisheries controls or standards security, floating wind farms, etc.), this plan is yet another ” offensive “ of their profession.

The decision of the Council of State of March 20, seized by three associations for the defense of the environment, to order the closure of certain fishing areas “for appropriate periods” to limit accidental captures of dolphins, provoked an outburst of anger.

“We simply want to end our profession”

“I have never seen such a surge of attacks. They call into question the foundation of our profession: feeding the French and Europeans. The European Union remains idly by before imports from third countries. We have entered a new society, that of the government of NGOs and associations for the defense ofradicalized environment”, writes Olivier Le Nézet, president of the CNPMEM, in an open letter to the President of the Republic, associated with a request for an appointment.

« On simply wants to put an end to our profession”, he says, recalling that “For five years, our fishermen have been at the initiative of scientific and technical programs to determine avoidance solutions in order to reconcile fishing activities and dolphin protection”.

“Our professional structures no longer defend us”

David Le Quintrec, gillnetter in Lorient and spearhead of the mobilization of fishermen in France, organized a snail operation on the Rennes ring road on Wednesday March 29, after having carried out a “free toll” action a little earlier.

“Sea fishermen have been sounding the alarm for several years now. The state has always been complacent with the decisions of the European Union and has not done much. Our professional structures no longer defend us. They are invested in policies that work with those of the government. We will have to wipe the slate clean of the CNPMEM”, he complains.

Actions to block or stop fishing

In many ports, actions have already been implemented. Boulogne, France’s leading fishing port by tonnage, was arrested on Sunday March 26, with an extension until March 31. For the first time, the association of Dutch fishermen, users of the northern port, joined the movement.

In Normandy, in Cherbourg, more than 150 fishermen have obtained the cessation of landings and sales on Wednesdays. For its part, the Pays de la Loire regional fisheries committee is calling for a three-day movement, bringing together producers, fish markets, wholesalers, fishmongers, canners, distributors, cooperatives, shipyards, mechanics and transporters.

“The government understands and shares the concerns of fishermen”

“For the first time in thirty years, there will be no fish landed and sold in the Pays de la Loire. After a succession of duncoordinated and unbalanced decisions, taken at French and European level, all these trades ask themselves the same question: do we have a future? », ask the committee.

“The government understands and shares the concerns of fishermen,” assured Tuesday, March 28 the Secretary of State for the Sea Hervé Berville, answering a question from the Communist deputy of Dieppe Sébastien Jumel. As he had already done in the Senate on March 8, he indicated that France is opposed to the European Commission’s plan to ban trawling in marine protected areas, citing “vital fishing techniques for the economy of our territories”.


More than 15,000 fishermen

France has more than 15,000 sea fishermen. A job at sea leads to three to four jobs ashore in fish processing and preparation, shipbuilding, port management. More than 7,700 fishing boats are under the French flag.

More than 560,000 tons of seafood products are caught and landed annually in 60 ports on the French coasts, for a market value of around 1.3 billion euros. The main species fished are tuna, hake, herring, scallops and sardines.


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