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Wednesday 31 January 2024

Closure of fishing in the Bay of Biscay: the response of Breton professionals is being organized

Fishing News from Brittany:

Around fifty fishermen gathered in Concarneau (Finistère), Wednesday January 10 at the end of the day, to express their anger at the month-long closure of fishing to certain types of vessels in the Bay of Biscay in order to protect dolphins. and other small cetaceans. They plan to demonstrate soon in Paris.

Around fifty fishermen gathered in Concarneau want to organise themselves for the largest possible movement.

Coming from the ports of Concarneau, Lorient, Audierne, Lesconil, owners of gillnetters, in particular, gathered in Concarneau to organise themselves in the face of the decision of the Council of State at the end of December to suspend the exemptions from the decree of October 24 on the protection of small cetaceans in the Bay of Biscay, which would have allowed fishing vessels of more than eight meters using risky nets (trammel net, set gillnet, pelagic otter trawl, pelagic beef trawl and bottom beef trawl ) to continue fishing during the prohibition period, from January 22 to February 20.

They hope to quickly mobilize their ranks to organise a demonstration in Paris, or even in Brussels, headquarters of the European Commission. Professionals as well as a small handful of fishmongers and fishmongers came together at the initiative of Lorient resident David Le Quintrec, boss of the filleter Izel Vor II .

“Fishing is abandoned”

If the decision of the Council of State to immobilize some 450 gillnetters from the Bay of Biscay at the quayside is at the origin of the movement, the anger of the fishermen has more numerous reasons. The feeling, says one of them on condition of anonymity, that fishing is abandoned, that it is no longer defended by anyone […]. Everyone is having fun .

Diesel crisis, individualized support plan (PAI), Brexit, quotas… The list of obstacles facing the profession is long and seems endless. Present in the gallery alongside David Le Quintrec, Thomas Le Gall, president of the Pêche Avenir Cap Sizun association bringing together fishermen from Audierne, warns that it is entirely possible that the NGOs, galvanised by the decisions of the Council of State, seek in the future to drive home the point by demanding new periods of fishing closures. They can very well aim for there to be two months tomorrow, then three months of stopping fishing in winter and one month in summer , he maintains.

So what to do? In the room, voices are expressed to defy the ban on fishing. David Le Quintrec says he thought about it. But after gaining some height , he felt that the risk was too great that the insurance would not work in the event of a work accident or the slightest damage to the boat. Burning pallets no longer serves any purpose, we must strike harder, go and make ourselves heard in the streets, in Paris, if necessary with farmers by highlighting the defense of food sovereignty , we hear in the room.

A survival committee?

But with French fish representing only 20% of seafood consumption, French food sovereignty is already largely undermined. We must highlight the desire for survival of maritime communities who want to find levers to defend themselves, defends Thomas Le Gall. Public opinion is not favorable to us because we have not defended fishing properly. It's true that we are not helped by the way our bodies operate too vertically. We must therefore manage to change the law and structure ourselves.

The idea of ​​a survival committee was raised several times in the room. In the meantime, a representative fisherman was appointed for each port during the meeting. It is he who will relay the information locally to amplify the movement.