Anyone who has been to Boulogne will be familiar with the unique seafood stalls on the quay, continuing a tradition of small-scale fish sales across the northern part of France as these aubettes are also to be found in Dunkerque, Calais, Etaples and other fishing ports.
To support this regional tradition and to help raise the profile of regional products, the regional fisheries committee (CRPMEM), Valérie Rioust at Boulogne-sur-Mer Développement and local fisheries action group GALPA 3 Estuaires got together to boost the identify of the region’s seafood products.
‘After Brexit and three lockdowns in 2020-21, sales have fallen dramatically,’ said Benoît Firmin at CRPMEM Hauts de France.
‘Now that people are allowed out again, it’s time to bring them back to the quayside to buy their fish.’
He commented that this is the first step towards a label or a brand for Hauts de France seafood.
‘There’s work in progress on an app, and a further step would be certification of products from northern France. As an example, the minimum lobster size here is larger than anywhere else. This is the fishermen’s choice, as they want to run a sustainable fishery,’ he said.
‘Working together is a key part of this. Despite Brexit and all the rest of it, we are more convinced than ever that strength lies in working together.’
The Hauts de France logo is going to be seen everywhere along the coast this summer, with fish sellers behind the counters of aubettes wearing the apron with the logo.
‘We are already working on the next steps for this project. After a tough year, this has been an opportunity to work on something positive. I had concerns that the fishermen wouldn’t like the concept – but it turns out that they love it.’