Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

French go back to long lines to reduce the environmental impact of deep-sea trawling - a trial of sorts.

Same size, same color. Yet very little to do with the old version. Arrived Sunday morning at Keroman, Heliotrope, vessel of 33 meters, is about to start a new life. The former trawler ScapĂȘche just spent nine months in a Spanish shipyard. " We almost changed everything, leaving only the shell , "says Jean-Pierre Le Face, operations manager of the first French company to fishing. A simple glance at the stern enough to realize it. Missing winches and reels so characteristic of trawling.

Built in the early 90s, the Heliotrope has been completely refurbished to practice a new type of fishing: longline. The principle is simple. A line consisting of thousands of hooks is launching keyed for several hours on the bottom, or in open water surface, then reboarding.

Although @ScapĂȘche already practice this type of fishing in Reunion - where one of its 23 ships stalking toothfish in the Southern Ocean - the choice to transform a former longliner trawlers still a gamble. In response to environmentalists who advocate this type of fishing, " without a priori one hand, says Jean-Pierre Le Visage. There is not in itself good or bad trade. We opted for an auto longline system that is not fully known technical feasibility or profitability. We just want to see what we can do with, especially on deep-sea species such as blue ling and sword . "

A substitute trawl?

Now transformed into a " living laboratory "Heliotrope conduct fishing trips of ten days in Northern Scotland. It will also target species such as hake, cod and haddock. Already practiced by the Spaniards and the Norwegians longline seems to be a "tool objectively more selective . " " But it also has a downside , "the manager added immediately. While a trawler can capture in a campaign fifteen different species, longline can hope for " two or three ". Besides risk-catch some protected species like the shark. In other words, no revolution either to wait with longlines. " This is an opportunity that we want to try, but it certainly will not come to replace trawl , "they warned the ScapĂȘche. As proof, the Jean-Pierre Le Roch, new ship of 41 meters of Lorient fleet, currently under construction in Spain, is a trawler. Delivery scheduled for summer 2015