French fishermen have reacted with fury to the European Union’s plans to restrict demersal fisheries, with deminstrations in Rennes, Lorient and Boulogne. A further incident took place in the Basque region, protesting against a Sea Shepherd event.
In Lorient fishermen occupied the offices of the local fisheries committee and the Brittany PO, while flares fire fired and bonfires were lit in the streets. A similar protest had taken place earlier in Rennes.
On Sunday night Boulogne’s fishermen took actionby blockading the port in an action expected to continue into Tuesday.
According to Olivier Lepretre, president of the Hauts-de-France Regional Fisheries Committee, the proposed measures would leave only 20% of their waters accessible for fishing, and would spell the end for the port’s fishing industry. The EU Commission’s proposals are seen as another blow, on top of the problems of extremely high fuel prices and the longstanding challenges facing European fishermen following Brexit.
The Boulogne auction is closed today, in sympathy with the port’s fishermen, and the Dutch industry has expressed its support for the position of their French colleagues.
‘A ban on bottom fisheries in MPAs would have an enormous impact on our joint fisheries activities. It has not only impact on our fisheries and fishermen but also on their families, the viability of coastal communities and related organisations, autions, fishmongers and processors,’ de Nederlandse Vissersbond’s chairman and secretary wrote in their public letter to the Boulogne fishermen.
‘It is really important to show our joint position as EU demersal fisheries, and say NO to the plans of the European Commission. With your action in France the consequences of the plans of the European Commission become more visible for society, lawmakers and politicans.’