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Thursday, 31 October 2019

Do we share the same fishing recruitment issues with the French?

Like many fishing regions, the French area of Morbihan in southern Brittany, home to major ports like Lorient suffers from a lack of new entrants into the industry. To get an accurate picture of the situation the local Fisheries department conducted a survey in order to know how best to tackle the problems. One thing to remember is that French fishermen have compulsory retirement at 55 - however, to achieve this their National Insurance contribution is significantly larger than the equivalent UK pension contribution.

Profession: fisherman. 

There are 1,100 in Morbihan to have chosen the profession of sailor-fisherman. But who are they? The Departmental Committee of Fisheries, which is struggling to recruit, asked the question. Overview of the results of a study that shakes many clichés. Old wolves are actually pretty young, mobile and good in their rubber boots.

An unpublished study on the profile of sailors.

We know that they sail on the waves. But who are these sailors? These sealions to take off sometimes long days. The Departmental Marine Fisheries Committee conducted a year-long study of 148 of the 1,100 fishermen in Morbihan. The work done is unpublished. "We wanted to know where they came from, what they did, how they apprehended their profession. In addition to the sociological aspect, it is better to know them in order to better represent them and also recruit them. We still have manpower needs, "says Jean Piel of the committee. Olivier Nezet, president of the Regional Fisheries Committee, continues: "10% of the fishermen of Morbihan are of foreign nationality. This figure reveals the issues of attractiveness. 

The sea as an inheritance. 

But then, what does a stereotyped fisherman look like? 98% of the fishermen-sailors of Morbihan are men, with an average age of 37 years. "We are bad examples in terms of parity," smiles Jean Piel. 78% of the sailors are Breton. And 60% have a pre-existing link with fishing. "Many of them have at least one member of their family in the profession." Fishing is the stuff of a passion. Of those we transmit. Far from the image of hard work that hangs over collective imagination? We must believe. Because 61% of them consider that their working conditions are good. "And yet, Brittany is a region where boats are rather old (on average 26 years)," observes the president of the Regional Fisheries Committee.

Mobile sailors. "The fishery has evolved, the approaches are not the same today. We do not stay all his life on the same boat, "explains Jean Piel. On average, a fisherman works throughout his career on six vessels and in two ports. 57% of them start on a trawler. "An excellent way to learn the trade". This is the particularity of the port of Lorient. "There are big crews that go deep sea fishing." The Scapêche (Société central des armements musquetaires à la pêche) alone represents 240 sailors out of 22 vessels (for a total of 600 fishermen at the port of Lorient). That is to say. "It's different in the south of the department with coastal activities where the owner of the boat leaves with two or three guys." Among Morbihan's profiles, two-thirds are deckhands. The remaining third occupies other activities such as second, cook or mechanic. "There are opportunities for career development. This is an area where continuing education is important. Their retirement at 55, they did not happen by chance

Good wages disadvantaged in retirement. It is the first benefit cited by fishermen. Salary. On average, it amounts to €2,600 net per month. The price of some disadvantages too. Case in point? The impact on family life. "They have staggered hours and sometimes leave several days. Their retirement at age 55, they do not have by chance, "admits Jean Piel, Committee. However, they are 91% to have chosen their profession in full knowledge of these facts. Passion for the job rules. And, knowingly, 89% want to stay a fisherman. "If some people want to leave, it is because of the system of pensions (which imposes a lower salary than the share of the time of the exercise), but they remain in some kind of maritime work (in the yachting, or elsewhere)". They are largely in the majority to consider this job to a young person, and among the young sailors (18-30 years old),


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