Sardine purse seine fisheries

October 2012 | Bass anglers oppose the sardine boats of Dhellemes’ industrial fleet

Sardine purse seine fisheries case: a failed meeting

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August 2012 | Bass anglers’ offensive rant

The sardine boats target stocks of bass

The association of anglers « Pointe de Bretagne » denounces the fishing of bass by sardine purse seine fishermen of Concarneau whereas stocks of sardine could enable them not to exert pressure on the stocks of bass.

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Read also the Ouest France article

January 2010 ¦ MSC Certification of sardine purse seine fisheries

Objection of NGOs to the MSC certification of sardine purse seine fisheries in southern Brittany

During the phase of public expression of the MSC certification granted to the sardine purse seine fisheries in southern Brittany, a common motion was submitted by associations of small-scale fishing and NGOs. The objective was to object to the imminent entrance on these small-size, well managed artisanal fisheries, of some much more important units, which would lead to an increase of the fishing effort of about 80 %.

Common motion to the following organizations: association of bar anglers Pointe de Bretagne, Collective Bar European, BLOOM, Greenpeace, WWF.

To read the document, click here.

Until 2012, sardine purse seine fisheries in southern Brittany were practiced by 22 active boats for an annual tonnage from 15 to 20.000 tons. The MSC certification concerned 18 of these 22 units grouped within the Association des Bolincheurs de Bretagne.

The MSC certification case (finally granted without taking into account our objections) caused issues for associations united around this common motion for the following reasons:

The formulation of the definition of the fishing zone on which the certification would apply had evolved in the course of the process. The initial evaluation for the certification had been realized for a fishery operating at a distance between 5 and 10 miles off coast while the last published documents stated from 0 to 12 miles.

Such an influence of sardine purse seine fisheries on the close coastal band was not desirable in as far as it would present risks and specific inconveniences (impacts on environmental habitats and juveniles in particular), which would be less serious from 5 miles off the coast. Outside the artisanal fleets which were about to obtain MSC certification, two other fleets (Dhellemmes and Scapêche) had deposited, together with stakeholders belonging to the sector’s retailing part (Halios and Makfroid), authorization requests to feed in the fishery.
Dhellemmes detained altogether or partially two recent units and Scapêche (fleet of Intermarché) had announced (and since realized) its intention to acquire boats in a Basque fleet. The sardine boats called Tximistarri II and Mirentxu thus joinded the Scapêche fleet in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

  • Thus, out of 22 operational sardine boats until then, it would be necessary to count 4 or 5 more on the fishing area from 2010.
  • The daily maximum catch of sardines for the whole fleet would pass from 10 to 20 tons.
  • Boats operating until then on the fishery had a tank capacity from 10 to 12 tons. However, the new incomers have a capacity in tank of 35 tons (maximal capacity on a 17 meter boat). The theoretical tank capacity would pass from 200 tons to a value between 340 and 380 tons, that is to say an augmentation of 80% only with these 4 or 5 additional boats.
  • The species targeted by the two projects were sardines (species non subject to quotas but only « protected » by a technical measure of a minimum catch size) and gray sea bream while fisheries targeting these fish were banned! The decree 0330 of the prefecture of the Brittany Region dating from April 23, 2009 states that “The purse seine fishery cannot be focused on bass and gray seabream. Pink seabream cannot be caught or landed by purse seine vessels.” And yet, Scapêche stated in Marin (page 15, December 4, 2009) that the sardine boat they were acquiring would work “on all pelagic species, mainly sardines and sea bream.”

An ecosystemic approach, even minimal, showed that an increase of fishing pressure on sardine in this area would provoke deep changes in the ecosystem that may be irreparable. A unanimously established effect would be the drastic reduction of the biomass of forage fish and the concomitant decline of stocks of predators targeted by commercial fisheries (as we know, stocks whose abundance is directly related to forage fish).

Since then, a scientific report (Little Fish, Big Impact) showed the necessity of preserving the populations of forage fish (small or medium sized fish including for example anchovies, herrings, sardines, menhadens) which represent more than a third of fish catches in the world. Some populations have already collapsed because of overexploitation. These fish play an essential role in the food of marine mammals, birds and other species of fish with strong commercial value such as tuna, salmon and cod. Experts recommend dividing by two the rates of catch of these species and letting in the oceans a biomass of forage fish about two times superior to traditional objectives of fishing management.

 

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