Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Danish seine: in the English Channel and elsewhere, artisanal fishermen are worried published



The Danish Seine, a rotating net manouvered on the bottom, is often presented as the fishing gear of the future. In the eyes of its supporters, it would provide better quality fish than the trawl, for a lower environmental impact. On the side of the craftsmen, the sound of the bell is very different. So we decided to investigate, and this article is the first in a series of articles about this controversial fishing gear. 


In addition to the testimonies of many craftsmen who declare that the Danish seine can “temporarily empty certain fishing areas”, there is clearly evidence that this fishing gear is not unanimous: while the regional fisheries committees of Hauts-de- France and Vendée have clearly positioned themselves in favour of the Danish seine, the regional fisheries committee of Brittany has always maintained the ban on Danish seine within 12 miles of Breton waters. Indeed, as evidenced by this press release from CDIPMEM56 dated 20/04/2019:

This opposition reflects the opinion of the vast majority of fishermen in Morbihan. It is also based on a deliberation by the Brittany Regional Fisheries Committee on December 19, 2013; deliberation signed by Olivier Le Nezet and which stipulates that: "Within the waters falling within the area of ​​the Regional Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Breeding of Brittany, the use of Danish seines is prohibited" [...] Furthermore, the Fisheries Committees of the four Breton departments share exactly the same opinion regarding the refusal of Danish seine in Breton waters.

Download the complete press release: Le-CDPMEM56-recalls-its-opposition-to-the-Danish-seine-in-Breton-waters-CDPMEM-56  The Breton fishermen are not the only ones to have publicly announced their refusal of the Danish seine. A recent incident in Ciboure is a reminder of this strong opposition and the tensions it can generate. In April 2019, the Lucien fishermen prevented a purse seiner from landing at the Ciboure Auction, as evidenced by various press articles on the subject:

“Anger had been mounting for a fortnight when these ships which usually remained north of Arcachon were observed for the first time off the ports of Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Capbreton. It therefore rose a notch at the start of the week. “We now know the effects. Where they pass, there is nothing, they massacre everything ”, justifies a fisherman from Lucerne. “After having plucked all the north, these boats will come to pluck the south? There is no question. We made a mistake once by letting the pelagics come in, we won't be fooled twice ”, continues another.”

Many artisanal fishermen therefore question the use of Danish seine, such as the Plateforme de la Petite Pêche Artisanale or the Association des Ligneurs de la Pointe de Bretagne. These two structures have always opposed it, as evidenced by a press release dated July 6, 2016 where the “small fishing” segment testifies:

“Any fisherman who has ever had to deal with a purse seiner can attest to their ability to clear a fishing area in record time, leaving all colleagues on the mat. Where the dormant arts could coexist with the trawlers, it is now impossible with the Danish seine! ”

The press release in question: http://www.plateforme-petite-peche.fr/?p=435

Finally, recently, many artisanal fishermen from Hauts-de-France and Normandy have taken part in the Danish seine on social networks, and these publications have had a strong resonance in the world of fishing. In particular, screenshots of AIS showing the quantity of Danish purse seiners registered in Holland and France, and sometimes working in the 3 mile zone, have set the profession in turmoil.

Among other things, in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the recent landing of dozens of auction crates filled with sea bream and red mullet of equivalent sizes or even less than the legal catch size ... strongly mobilized fishermen, especially as these species are sought after by the “small-scale fishing” and “coastal fishing” segments. By observing these tanks of red mullet, we can also question the supposed quality of the fish caught with the Danish seine, these photos speak for themselves:


On the left, red mullet caught with Danish seine and landed in Boulogne-sur-Mer in November 2020 (the black lighter gives an idea of ​​the small size of the fish) 
Red mullet fished with a net by the “Petits Pêcheurs d'Iroise” https://www.facebook.com/ligneur

In a future article, we will question the role of SCOPALE, an armament belonging to the Les Mousquetaires and Le Garec groups and to the Opale Cooperative, in the transformation of the fisheries of the North and Normandy. At this stage of the investigation, it seems legitimate to question the use of the Danish seine in the 12 mile zone, and it seems clear that no derogation should allow the use of this gear in the 3 mile zone. . The opposition of artisanal fishermen, all regions combined, must be heard and respected, especially as it is based on a factual observation made at sea.

by Thibault Josse November 3, 2020 translated by Google.