The “truth” of Intermarché on deep-sea fishing … And that of Monsanto on GMOs too?


BLOOM, Greenpeace and Oceana press release

While the exceptional mobilization of French citizens against destructive deep-sea fishing, including that of Intermarché, grows every moment (more than 420,000 signatures to BLOOM’s petition), the fleet belonging to the group based in Lorient, Scapêche, deploys today what it knows best : a communication operation, inviting all local and national media for a “day of truth on deep-sea fishing .”

This caricatural event is reminiscent of the large companies who manufacture industrial lies as they have been described in brilliant works.[1] The arguments which Intermarché will argue are well known from NGOs who hear them since exactly five years (the Grenelle de la Mer). It was then that they had discovered and publicly denounced the complacency of the rapporteur of the ” deep-sea fishing” mission, fisheries scientist at Ifremer Alain Biseau, and his collusion with the industrial fisheries. It is he who will officiate in the name of “science” today.

His working methods (eviction of harmful data, total absence of scientific references), severely pinned by the reviewers of a very oriented report he produced in 2010, recognize a policy position paper posted on the website of the Ifremer[2] used as a thin (very thin) “scientific” backing  for deep-sea industrial fleets and their political supporters. These arguments have been rebutted in the international scientific journal NATURE :  Nature Sept 13 – Les Watling.

The positioning of a handful of researchers at the technical fisheries station of the Ifremer in Lorient is in direct contradiction with more than 70 international scientific publications showing the destructiveness of deep-sea bottom trawls (not one publication which tends to prove the contrary , however) and fits against the mobilization of more than 300 researchers supporting the proposal to ban deep-sea  bottom trawling by the European Commission.

The last wild card of deep-sea fisheries? The employment blackmail. To brandish a fake social impact threat, there is no such thin g as starting to make believe that the European Commission aims to ban all fishing in deep waters. Although it was explicitly stated that it did not wish to prohibit deep-sea fishing but simply eliminate the most destructive  fishing methods : bottom gillnets (already banned in Europe but provisionally) and bottom trawling (already banned in the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands and across the Southern Ocean).

Then there only remains one thing to do : fudge the numbers of jobs concerned. For this, the Lorient political machine, supported by (and probably also funding) the industrial lobby (BlueFish association), has deployed a perfectly orchestrated sequence and produces fantastic indefensible figures, whose methodology remains “confidential “(see the response to our request of PwC : Réponse PWC_Mars2013).


In fact, if the fleets were willing to convert to longlining, as the European Commission proposes, they would opt for a fishing gear that generates six times more jobs than bottom trawling . This was revealed a new study by the New Economics Foundation.


Cette même étude a calculé la perte nette pour la société des captures d’espèces profondes : pour 1 euro investi dans les pêches profondes, la société ne récupère que 79 à 82 centimes. Cette estimation des pertes ne tient pas compte de la destruction, inchiffrable, des écosystèmes marins et de la biodiversité.


Les ONG proposent aux journalistes participant au voyage de presse de la Scapêche de répondre à leurs questions toute la journée ainsi que dans les jours à venir. Une « hotline » d’ONG et de chercheurs est à votre disposition :


Hotline NGOs/Researchers

The same study calculated the net loss for Society to catch deep-water species : for one euro invested in deep-sea fisheries , Society recovers only 79 to 82 cents. This estimate does not include losses from destruction of marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

NGOs will provide the journalists attending Scapêche’s press tour an answer to their questions all day long as well as in the days to come. A “hotline” of NGOs and researchers is available :

Hotline NGOs / Researchers

BLOOM – Claire Nouvian

OCEANA – Javier Lopez

SEAS AT RISK – Björn Stockhausen

DSCC (Deep Sea Conservation Coalition) – Matthew Gianni

GREENPEACE – François Chartier

WWF – Elise Pètre

Professor Callum Roberts, University of York

Professor Les Watling, University of Hawaii
See Oceana excellent response to the alleged “sustainability” of deep-sea fishing : Myths and facts about deep-sea fisheries in the North-East Atlantic Ocea…


[1] Mostly La Fabrique du Mensonge of Stéphane Foucart and Les Marchands de Doutes of Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway


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