Langoustine are a focal point of Lorient’s small-scale fleet landings, with the emphasis on landing high-value live langoustine that make their way to the port’s 4am auction for the small boat fleet’s landings.
Benoît Jaffrey, CEO of SEM Lorient-Keroman, said that there are 270 companies linked to Lorient’s maritime sector, and there is a fleet of 130 local fishing vessels, ranging from large distant water stern trawlers landing their fish in Scotland or Ireland to be trucked to Lorient, all the way to the hugely important fleet of smaller vessels landing high-value species such as langoustine.
‘Langoustine is worth €11 million a year to Lorient, and this is live langoustine,’ he said.
Last year was a bumper year for Lorient’s langoustine landings.The usual 800 tonnes of langoustine was swelled to over a thousand tonnes and the outlook for this year also looks good.
‘Langoustine is normally a summer fishery here,’ said the Lorient auction’s Laure Birrien.
‘We usually start to see langoustine landings start in May, but this year there have been langoustine appearing on the auction since February and quotas are being restricted for the boats to ensure that the TAC isn’t all caught to early.’
Benoît Jaffrey explained that Lorient’s landings are spilt between those landed elsewhere and trucked overland to be sold, amounting to 11,000 tonnes in 2015, and the landings by the local coastal fleet that last year totalled 6400 tonnes of primarily high-value species. In addition, there are supplies of fish for the auction sourced from elsewhere, mainly from Scotland and Ireland, plus some Spanish vessels use Lorient as a transhipping port and their landings go the other way –trucked back to Spain to be sold there.
‘Volumes of fish sold here have been roughly stable,’ he said, commenting that just over 26,000 tonnes were sold in 2014 and the same volume was sold in 2015, but the difference lies in the catch values that saw a €10 million increase in 2015 over the previous year, which he attributes to the increase in super-fresh live langoustine that fetch premium prices.