Despite appreciable progress within the administration of fishery resources over the past twenty years, overfishing still impacts 20% of French catches in accordance to the most recent report from the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer).
How are the populations of fish caught in France doing in 2020? For the third yr in a row, researchers from the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) have tried to reply this query. Of the 160 populations that give rise to an everyday evaluation, 60% of the volumes landed would come from a sustainable fishing, ie 4 occasions greater than in 2000. Of this complete, 47% would come from shares in good situation, and 13% from shares categorised “in the course of reconstitution” or “reconstitutable”, in accordance to the final outcomes of the Institute. ” It’s better than the previous year, where we were approximately at 50% of populations not overfished, welcomes Alain Biseau, biologist at Ifremer. The improvement observed is mainly due to the sardine from the Bay of Biscay, which is growing less than before and therefore of less interest to fishermen, and to the scallop, whose stocks are very abundant. “ Mediterranean bluefin tuna, which has not been overfished for a number of years, has additionally seen its biomass improve significantly, as have Atlantic hake, sea bass from the English Channel and the North-East Sea. Proof that scientists’ diagnoses, if adopted by administration measures limiting the volumes collected, bear fruit!
However, have we achieved the targets set in 2012 by the European Union, as a part of the frequent fisheries coverage, particularly 100% sustainable fishing by 2020 on the newest? Obviously no! 21% of the fish shares studied are still thought-about overfished, of which 4% end up to be degraded and a couple of% are certified “Collapsed”. This is the case, amongst others, of hake within the Mediterranean and cod within the North Sea and the Celtic Sea. Finally, for 20% of populations, there’s not sufficient information to assess their state of well being and classify them.
Decline of some populations within the Mediterranean
The notably worrying decline of sure populations comparable to hake or crimson mullet within the Mediterranean has led the riparian States to take measures inside the framework of the Common Policy and, on the worldwide degree, of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, inside the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Entered into power in January 2020, a brand new multi-yr species administration plan imposes reductions within the variety of fishing days and the momentary closure of sure areas to shield nurseries. But it is going to take a number of years earlier than observing the consequences. “The main difficulty comes from the great diversity of Mediterranean fisheries”, notes Clara Ulrich, deputy scientific director. For species of financial curiosity for France, the 8 populations assessed characterize solely 40% of landings. As for small-scale coastal fishing, the volumes are too low and the species too quite a few to find a way to be evaluated by standard strategies. “At the identical time, we’re due to this fact growing extra ecosystem and multi-species approaches, continues Sandrine Viaz, head of the Mediterranean halieutic laboratory. We are notably thinking about octopus, sea bream, wolf, for which we’re growing different commentary strategies to conventional strategies for a greater understanding of their life cycle, of the occupation of area of those species, and maybe finally produce abundance indices. “
A brand new fishery is due to this fact rising. Even whether it is still in its infancy, its growth is all of the extra essential because the context is in full upheaval. “Our assessments were based on an assumed stable environment. We must now take into account the climate change, pollution, ecological imbalances which modify food webs and fish distribution areas ”, concludes François Houllier. In these circumstances, it’s tough to foresee a reputable deadline to lastly attain 100% sustainable fishing!
The affect of the pandemic
Despite administrations and auctions briefly closed, in addition to restricted journey within the subject, Ifremer assessed the general drop within the manufacturing of fishing firms in 2020 at 14% (much less 40,000 tonnes landed), which is is mirrored in a lower in worth of 93.5 million euros (a lower of 13% in contrast to 2019). 13,000 fishing days had been misplaced by sailors (-10%). According to the Institute, this is among the largest drops in exercise that the trade has skilled for a few years, with cascading results such because the discount within the costs of sure species comparable to monkfish, haddock or hake, linked particularly to the closure of canteens and eating places.
When latest UFC-Que Choisir study on sustainable fishing, the findings had been a lot much less optimistic. The cause: a special methodology which relies on observations within the stalls and which provides to the state of the shares the fishing strategies used whereas the latter will not be taken under consideration by the Ifremer research.