Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Le Guilvenec - fishermen return to sea.


In Guilvinec (29), almost all the fishermen have returned to sea. The treasuries are at their worst. You have to re-earn your crust, but the restaurants and school canteens of the country are still closed. Supply being much stronger than demand, inexorably, prices collapse. And the fishmongers suffer too.

Solidarity coronavirus Brittany

As the trawlers return, one by one, to the port of Guilvinec, on this Thursday afternoon, the mist rises from the west and gradually replaces the bright morning sun. Already, under the auction, we are agitated. But in silence and with a mask. It is now far away, the time when the crier shouted and waved his abacus for the draw. After a halt at the start of the containment, almost all of the boats have returned to sea. About twenty coastal vessels are expected for the evening sale. Éric Monfort docks with Bérénice II. With his son, they unload the goods, especially lobster. Serious face chiselled by the spray, he notes: "It is getting worse and worse". Mathematical logic, when few boats left, the prices remained correct despite the drop in demand. Now that there is more supply, prices are plummeting. "There is no longer a floor price. The compensating organization can no longer. So we are always afraid of not being able to sell when we arrive at the port. It's only the lobster that saves me, "he says.

Our direct

Shipowner based in Lesconil (29), Julien Le Brun, who owns five coastal trawlers, is moody. "Until Friday, it was okay, but this week, prices have dropped significantly," he said. At his side, on the quay of the port of Guilvinec, Jean-Baptiste Goulard, boss of the deep-sea fishers Pax-Vobis and Copelia, is a little more talkative. "There is not enough demand, that is all. There are almost no more morning sales because there is no market for large volumes. "

“Even if it means dying, you might as well try something. "

Is this situation financially viable? "No, but it's better than nothing. A boat along the quay is worse than at sea anyway, "he said. "To get our guys out of work, we have to get ahead with our company's cash. State money, we know, we'll have it in two years! Personally, I think that if I am three months ahead of my cash, I will file for bankruptcy, "worries the sailor. The fishing bosses are impatiently awaiting the reopening of school canteens and restaurants, but have little illusion. "It's not going to restart like that. It takes time for the consumer to get back to their original life. If we find a balance at the end of the year, it will be good, "he said. Tirelessly, like the others, Jean-Baptiste Goulard continues to sail, despite everything. “Even if it means dying, you might as well try something. At least if it doesn't work, you can't blame me for not having tried. ”

"40% less in Quimper fishmongers"

Live langoustine, place, whiting, mackerel ... The stalls of fishmongers in the Quimper halls are not lacking in products. This Thursday noon, customers are not jostling, however, despite prices close to normal, after an onset of health crisis marked by a short outbreak. Fishmonger for 35 years, Marc Naulet has made his accounts: "Compared to the same period last year, we are at 40% less turnover. "A finding shared by most of the fishmongers in the covered market, forced to close in the afternoon and unable to accommodate regular customers on Saturday, due to health constraints. "On Saturday, there was a line up to the cathedral," said Stéphane Salaün. "The situation is complicated for the management of stocks", continues this other fishmonger. Beautiful pieces, usually ordered by restaurants and for family meals, are also not sold.

Despite the beginning of a recovery in the activity of fishmongers, previously deprived of outlets, Cornish fishmongers currently represent more than 70% of purchases under auction. A reduced activity which forces fishermen to limit their catches to avoid a collapse in prices. Despite a gradual recovery, they only landed 40 tonnes of fish last week, down from around 100 tonnes in normal times.

The consequence of the shutdown of the majority of deep-sea vessels whose fishing usually provides collective catering and mass distribution. Under these conditions, Jean-François Garrec, the Cornish president of the chamber of commerce and industry in charge of fishing ports, predicts a gradual recovery of the market with deconfinement.

Full story courtesy of Le Telegramme.