Overfishing still affects 20% of fish landed in France

Overfishing still affects 20% of fish landed in France

In 2022, 56% of the 347,000 tonnes of fish landed in France came from sustainably exploited populations, a figure slightly improving compared to 2021 (54% sustainable fishing), says the French Ifremer Institute. The North Sea and eastern Channel show the best performance with more than 63% of seafood volumes coming from populations in good condition, thanks to good resources of herring and scallops.

On the other hand, 20% of landings come from overexploited fish populations and 2% from collapsed populations, such as Mediterranean hake or pollack from the Channel and North Sea. The situation is particularly bad in the Mediterranean Sea, where only 36.5% of the 18,000 tonnes of fish landed are sustainably fished.

The rest (22% of volumes) comes from unclassified or unvalued stocks, due to lack of sufficient data.

This observation is still far from the European objective set within the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy which is to reach 100% of populations fished at “maximum sustainable yield” (MSY). The MSY designates the maximum quantity of fish that can be caught without jeopardizing the renewal of the resource in the long term.

Even when exploited at the RMD, many fish populations “remain fragile”, “because their maintenance depends on good reproduction each year”, underlines Ifremer.

“For fishing to be sustainable, we must not only achieve the objective of 100% of fish populations in good condition but also maintain it in the long term,” estimates Clara Ulrich, coordinator of fisheries expertise at Ifremer. , quoted in the press release. “To do this, we must consider and better understand the factors that influence the development of fish eggs and larvae, in particular with climate change,” underlines the researcher. According to her, “poor recruitment in one year can be enough to cause a significant decrease in biomass in subsequent years,” she concludes.


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