Brittany embraces industrial trawling lobbies

A very important vote took place on the evening of Friday 16 February at the Regional Council of Brittany. A roadmap for fisheries was adopted which completely ignores the ongoing climatic and biological collapse, as well as small-scale coastal fishing.   

This regressive and astounding vote deserves an explanation.

The vote that took place on Friday 16 February has made it possible to draw up a list of the people (on the Regional Council of Brittany) in favor of industrial fishing financed by public money, and those in favor of trawling that supplies supermarkets with cheap fish so that they can increase their margins instead of rewarding decent work.

It is worth remembering that artisanal fishers were against the roadmap, as were over 40,000 citizens and environmental protection associations.

But the industrial lobbies that serve the interests of supermarkets were in favor of it.

What supermarkets want is cheap fish, but let’s not forget that the low prices enjoyed by supermarkets are made possible by taxpayers’ money.

In reality, citizens pay twice for fish: firstly with subsidies, and again at the till. We have calculated with the Institut Rousseau that 63% of public aid allocated to the fishing industry from the State budget is fuel aid (206 million euros in tax exemptions in 2021).

So, it is taxpayers who are footing the bill for diesel fuel used by fishing boats. Who, then, is consuming so much of it?


If we don’t pay the fuel bill for these energy-guzzling underwater bulldozers, they’ll go bankrupt. It was for this reason the Region of Brittany voted on the evening of Friday 16 February to save the skins of trawlers and supermarkets alike.

All this diesel consumption is not only a problem for public finances, but also for the climate. Although they represent less than a quarter of the fishing fleet, trawlers emit 57% of the sector’s CO2.

When climate change and the collapse of species on Earth are calling on us to rethink all our activities to make them compatible with planetary limits, and when the ocean has never been this warm since the industrial era, a majority of regional councillors have voted to use OUR TAXES to uphold the recipe for disaster that is impacting ecosystems that are already on their last legs.

It should be noted that European waters are the most heavily trawled in the world, and French waters are among the least protected in the world. Catches have plummeted dramatically over the years, making this vote incredibly irresponsible.

Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Brittany Region, and Daniel Cueff, Vice-President of the ‘Mer et littoral’ (Sea and Coastline), have refused to withdraw this text, which was drafted by industrial lobbies for industrial lobbies, and which attempts to pull the wool over our eyes and pass off and a “hydrogen” trawl as environmentally-friendly fishing!


The Ecologists (@EcolosBretagne) were the only ones to clearly fight against the text.

The National Rally (French: Rassemblement National) made confusing, Europhobic and incomprehensible remarks, but also voted against the text.


The other Ecologists (@Ecologistes_Bzh – yes, there are two groups!), the autonomist left (@Breizhagleiz) and the right (@Hissonshautbzh / Les Républicains) abstained.


The left-wing majority with the Macronist right! (@NousLaBzh)…


At the Regional Council of Brittany, the left-wing majority is made up of:

  • The PS group @Elus_SocDem_BZH
  • A group of fake ecologists (@bretagnemavie) led by Daniel Cueff
  • The Communist group @PC_ProgressBzh
  • The Regionalists.


We obviously won’t let this disastrous vote stop us.

Thanks to your mobilization:

  • We have forced the allies of industrial trawling to lay down their cards
  • We have amplified a voice other than that of the usual lobbies (CPMR, CNPM, BreizhMer etc.)
  • We have alerted artisanal fishers, who were not even aware of the situation because they are so despised
  • We have put scientific rationality back at the heart of the debate
  • We have obtained a strong position from elected representatives against the world’s largest ship, the Annelies Ilena, against which we demonstrated on 15 February in Saint-Malo.


Stubbornly supporting fishing methods that destroy resources, marine habitats, jobs and the climate is no accident. It is the result of relentless lobbying by industrial fishers who are the spokespeople of supermarkets. It is a betrayal of the interests of the French people and artisanal fishers, who have not been consulted or even mentioned once in the 112-page document, even though they represent the only sustainable fishing industry with a “future”.


When the official representative bodies of fishers defend the interests not of fishers but of the food industry, the implications are serious and manifold:

  • It locks the fishing industry into methods that are brutal for the marine environment and the climate, such as trawling and bottom seining, which provide the “volume” needed for industrial scale;
  • This overdetermines the targeting of public funds, against all forms of social and economic rationality;
  • It makes it impossible for ambitious decisions to be taken at the highest level of government: industry representatives have the ability to incite the entire fishing community with misleading communications, as was the case in March 2023 (with the fire at the Office for French Biodiversity headquarters).
  • Stubbornly sticking with trawling, whatever the cost to taxpayers, also prevents us from pursuing a genuine nature protection policy and creating marine “protected” areas worthy of the name, which would prohibit high-impact fishing methods and industrial infrastructures.


BLOOM’s action in Brittany, alongside numerous fishers, elected representatives and associations, marks just the start of a relentless campaign against the deforestation of marine ecosystems by bottom trawlers, to protect the ocean, the climate, public finances and jobs by de-calibrating fishing fleets and creating genuine Marine Protected Areas.

We will no longer let the defenders of climate-wrecking industrial trawling, which is structurally unprofitable and whose losses are paid for by our taxes, trawl the brains of our politicians without putting up a fight, and we commit to opposing them with factual data.


A social and ecological transition in fisheries can save the ocean and create jobs.

Let’s fight for it now.

Take part in the public debate on the future of the ocean organized by the French Public Debate Commission (French: CNDP, Commission du débat public) to make your voice heard in the face of this onslaught of bad faith. We have set up a special page online to explain how you can take part, and have put the position we are defending online.

Thank you for your support!

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