April’s fool ! At long last, France finally supports an EU-wide ban on deep-sea bottom trawling

The European Council of Ministers met this morning in an extraordinary session to deliberate on the thorny deep-sea fishing file. In an unexpected twist in the drama, France lifted its blockade and announced that it eventually supported the ban on this destructive fishing method beyond 600 meters depth.

Most Member States expressed their relief at the easing of the French position. British Minister George Eustice congratulated France since it is mainly in UK waters that French vessels conduct their deep-sea fishing activities and destroy the precious natural capital of the British Isles. With the Paris Climate Conference approaching, George Eustice added that the French government’s decision was “an excellent sign.” A study by the University of Southampton has indeed shown that deep fish around the UK were essential for CO2 sequestration and climate regulation.

This morning, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls apologized to Europe in a press release. He justified the government’s sudden shift by the strong wave of mobilization by scientists and the 900,000 citizens who signed BLOOM’s petition. He also referred to the market trend with reference to French retailers, such as Casino and Carrefour, which have made commitments to stop the marketing of deep-sea species.

“France is finally listening to reason. What a struggle to get to this point! It was about time the French government sweeps its own backyard before giving lessons of environmental excellence on climate policy to the world. The country narrowly avoided a lasting disgrace on the international stage”, said Claire Nouvian, director of BLOOM.

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