Demonstration to decommission the world’s largest pelagic trawler

BLOOM and the Pleine Mer association are calling for a general mobilization of artisanal fishers and of all individual, community and political citizens committed to social and ecological justice.

We are organizing a demonstration at 10:30 am on Thursday 15 February in Saint-Malo against the world’s largest pelagic trawler: the Annelies Ilena, a 145-meter factory vessel designed to manufacture industrial surimi, replacing another giant that looks small in comparison: the 90-meter Joseph Roty 2.

Green light for the “Ship from Hell”

The Compagnie des pêches de Saint-Malo has been given the green light by the French authorities to invest 15 million euros in this factory ship. It’s so big, in fact, that it is not even able to enter the port of Saint-Malo! The fish will be landed in the Netherlands and transported by container to the Saint-Malo factory, which can manufacture 3,000 tons of surimi a year. The surplus will be exported worldwide.

Nicknamed the “Ship from Hell” by Mauritanian fishers for its destructive practices, the Annelies Ilena is capable of catching 400,000 kilos of fish every 24 hours. It is the very embodiment of the insanity of industrialists, endangering both the ocean and the livelihoods of artisanal fishers, who perform best in social, economic and environmental terms.

Research carried out by the scientific group formed by BLOOM at the end of January showed that large pelagic trawlers generate 10 times fewer jobs than inshore fishing with passive gear.

“This boat will fish on French quotas, but its fish will be landed in the Netherlands. This is an insult to all French artisanal fishers who are calling for a better distribution of fishing quotas. Unlike these monsters of the seas, they are the lifeblood of a region and the local economy”, Charles Braine, president of the association Pleine Mer.

The Annelies Ilena, going backwards in time

This vessel alone symbolizes everything that is wrong with the fishing industry. While fishers have been going from crisis to crisis for years, the public authorities continue to defend the destroyers of the ocean, in defiance of the protection of artisanal fishers and the environment.

Industrialists are running the show in the fishing industry, to the detriment of artisanal and coastal fishers. Getting control of the resource and securing fishing rights and quotas does not just happen with a snap of the fingers: you have to occupy decision-making positions in strategic bodies. 

Florian Soisson, CEO of Compagnie des pêches de Saint-Malo, has done just that: he is now head of France’s largest producers’ organization, FROM Nord, which allocates fishing quotas to him, and to the vice-president of the Comité national des pêches.

Since our press release on 11 January which sounded the alarm, the Compagnie des Pêches de Saint-Malo has been in the media spotlight. But as discontent grows, Florian Soisson has chosen to let the storm pass by, refusing to be interviewed by the media. In one of his rare public appearances, he tries to play down the attacks on the giant trawlers and marginalize those who would stand in his way.

A mobilization to denounce his preferential treatment, and prevent this monster from monopolizing quotas.

BLOOM and Pleine Mer are calling for mass mobilization against gigantism, floating factories and the industrialist dominance over the fishing industry.

 The rally will start at the Saint-Malo sous-préfecture, with a human chain representing the disproportionate size of the Annelies Ilena’s net (600m).

Join us in denouncing these practices, putting an end to the privileges of the few against the interests of the many, and preventing the government from sacrificing the ocean to a handful of industrialists.

Meet us on Thursday 15 February at 10:30 am in front of the Saint-Malo sous-préfecture, located at 3 Rue Roger Vercel.

→ For further information and to confirm your participation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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