French vessel owners seek clear guidelines
French fishing companies are keen to continue supplying seafood, but are crippled by the seafood industry’s supply problems

French vessel owners seek clear guidelines

French fishing companies are waiting for clear guidelines, according to a statement by the Union of French Fishing Vessel Operators (l’Union des Armateurs à la Pêche de France), signed by the presidents of French POs and fishing industry bodies.

The signatories state that with the current unprecedented health crisis, the fishing sector is ready to continue to supply France with seafood, but the reality has been that most of the fleet is tied up and will remain at the quayside as long as the demand for fish is not enough to justify going to sea.

Cartons of seafrozen fillets landed from a factory trawler

‘Fish production is sold at very low prices which eliminates the economic viability of fishing companies. A large proportion of fish landed is traditionally for export or the catering market, with both of these shut down. With days and weeks of lockdown ahead, it is not possible to expect remaining sales outlets to sell fish production. In addition, it is not possible to change the habits of French households in a few days to increase their appetite for cooking fish,’ the Union states.

The expectation is that most fishing companies will remain at a standstill due to the lack of a market for their products.

In an appeal to President Macron, the Union asks for support mechanisms to sustain French fishing beyond the current pandemic crisis.

‘We need now, after days of uncertainty, clear messages to enable us to act effectively and take the appropriate decisions to both organise the economic survival of companies and employees, and to guarantee the food supply, in particular with a support system.’