Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

It's not only the UK that has issues with giant Dutch company Cornelius Vrolijk.

We regularly talk about "giant trawlers" ... But why is this fishing model called into question by artisanal fishermen and environmental associations? 



The Scombrus is a giant 80-meter trawler, launched on September 25, 2020 in Concarneau, by the company France Pélagique, a subsidiary of the Dutch group Cornelis Vrolijk. Fishermen and civil society then mobilised, making it possible to shed light on this vessel. 

Indeed, France Pélagique has only French in name. It is a subsidiary of a Dutch industrial fishing empire: Cornelis Vrolijk. This arrangement allows Dutch boats to be registered in France, and therefore to fish on French quotas. At 52m However, the fishing capacities of giant trawlers are disproportionate: up to 200 tonnes of fish per day. This is as much as what the auction of Lorient, the largest French auction, deals with. The fish is directly frozen and packaged on board. 46m So, to be profitable, the owners of these boats must have a lot of quota. 

Hence the takeover of foreign companies by Dutch companies. But in the countries in question like France, it is the resource of artisanal fishermen that is monopolised Water wave Charles Braine and 9 others recently bought the LABBEL NORMANDY, a trawler very well endowed with quota. The boat's quotas were then moved onto the company's giant trawlers, before the boat's crew were fired and disposed of. A social scandal. Charles Braine and 9 others 37m Other groups like Parleviet Van Der Plaas also own certain French armaments. In France, shipping lines such as Euronor, the Saint Malo Fisheries Company, the French Oceanic Tuna Company and France Pélagique belong to Dutch firms Charles Braine and 9 others

Cornelis Vrolijk, Parlevliet & van der Plas (P&P) and Willem van der Zwan own, through their subsidiaries, 17 giant trawlers over 80 meters in length which operate in European waters. These three companies, which were initially family businesses, have now absorbed many European companies. Their empire is accumulating more and more quota, whether through the ITQ systems in Holland and the UK, or through the purchase of boats in France.

We are therefore witnessing a generalised grabbing of quotas and therefore of marine resources, by the shareholders of these Dutch groups. However, the efficiency of these boats is strongly criticised by artisanal fishermen.

In fact, in addition to the fishing capacity of 200 tonnes per day, we can also ask the question of by-catches. These boats work in French waters before disembarking in the Netherlands, and the fish are already conditioned: what about the controls?

In addition, the fish caught (mackerel, horse mackerel, anchovies, herring) are species which are also exploited by artisanal fishermen. The latter therefore have less quota, and see the stocks of the species they target strongly impacted.

In addition, these fishing methods are financed with public money. Since the early 1980s, the European Union has put several billion euros in public subsidies on the table to develop its fishing capacity. The majority of aid concerns manufacturers.

The domination of this model is called into question by associations such as @PleineMerAsso and @Bloom_FR.  Unfortunately, the shipowners in question are extremely well represented in the fisheries bodies: this will be the subject of a future THREAD.

Further information from Josse Tibault at the Pleine Mer organisation. (Deep Sea)