The decision has been taken not to renew the annual exemption that has in previous years licensed pelagic trawling in a sensitive area off the western French coast.
The Rochebonne plateau, off the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in western France, is a seabed classified under the Natura 2000 network. It has been the subject of a longstanding framework for fishing activities since the 1970s, designed to harmonise activities of various Bay of Biscay sectors, and is the responsibility of the Prefecture of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
Pelagic trawling has been prohibited in this area since 1978, although there has been a tradition of the Prefecture granting an exemption every two years, allowing pelagic trawling to take place there for a 60-day period each year.
Following a broad consultation led by the Prefecture and with input from scientific and professional organisations, the region’s fisheries organisations have proposed that the exemption should not be renewed.
France’s Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume has welcomes this decision, which has been proposed by commercial fishing bodies, and demonstrating the industry’s commitment to sustainable management.