Thursday, 26 April 2018

Fishing: Lorient for sustainable langoustine

The Breton ports of St Guenole, Lesconil, Loctudy, Concarneau, Lorient and Guilvinec were once home to a fleet of over 100 prawn trawlers that fished west of the Scillys, on the Smalls off the south east coast of Ireland or even as far as the Porcupine Bank off the west coast of Ireland...

Newlyn often played host to these boats during unseasonal spring and summer storms...

Some, like the Guilvinec registered Hibernia were built with a narrower beam so that they could  steam more quickly and reduce travel time and fuel costs to fish the Porcupine Bank.  They fished long trips using sodium metabisulphate to 'dip' the prawns (this practice killed the enzyme action in the gut of the prawns in the same way it is used in the brewing industry). They

These days the bulk of French prawn trawling is carried out by boats that fish much shorter trips and closer to home - many are day boats. Respect for seasonality and fishing areas, modernization and selectivity of trawls, scientists and professionals of the port of Lorient work to preserve Nephrops resources. Crustacean management in the Bay of Biscay has become an example of sustainable fishing.

Video report | Biodiversity | April 23, 2018 | Rémi Pin

With nearly 900 tons landed in 2017, Lorient Keroman is the first French port of live langoustines. Fished off the coast of Groix and Belle-Ile , crustaceans have been a symbol of the port of Morbihan for decades. But the fishing methods have changed. " Today, we are really on this logic of preservation of the resource, everyone understood that the resource was a wealth, and that it had to be managed intelligently, " says Jean-Paul Solaro, president of the SEM Lorient-Keroman.

Selectivity of fishing techniques

In 2018, the European lobster quotas set by Europe were revised downwards. 3,600 tonnes of crustaceans can be sampled in the Bay of Biscay for 180 licensed vessels. But sustainable fishing is not limited to respecting quotas. Scientists and professionals work on gear selectivity. It is in the Ifremer test basin of Lorient that selective devices are developed on the trawls. Objective: Sort on the bottom rather than on the deck.

" The first device put in place in the 2000s is a regulatory panel to improve the escape of small hake," explains Pascal Larnaud, fisheries engineer and director of Ifremer de Lorient, " A langoustine grill, another device at the end of trawl, allows small lobsters to escape . "

A chute to reject juveniles

Preserving young crustaceans, a major challenge for the management of the resource. The Langoustiniers Lorientais have opted for a minimum commercial size of 90 mm, when Europe imposes only 75 mm.

While discards at sea are normally prohibited, the profession has obtained a waiver for releasing young crustaceans caught in trawls. This thanks to a chute system that allows a quick release of juveniles and ensures a good survival rate. All boats have been equipped since 2017.

An example of sustainable fisheries that is still an exception in the management of the biomass of the seas and oceans. Globally, 31% of fish stocks are overfished, a figure that is 93% in the Mediterranean.

Translated from the original article in French.

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