On Monday, May 2, France will have consumed all the fish and seafood from its waters. As of this date, all French consumption will be imported. This calculation was made, in theory, by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the organization that grew out of naming aquaculture the most environmentally and socially responsible. The logic is simple: imports account for two-thirds of French consumption. “If converted into a year, it means that after May 2, all the fish consumed in France will be imported. So if consumers only buy locally produced fish, the shelves will be empty in May”wrote the NGO, condemning the paradox when France is an important naval power. “There is an Epinal image of France, which is seen as a country that produces a lot of fishing, whose fish we find in the stalls come from a small fisherman, while what we consume is mainly imported, and the third comes from aquaculture”explains Margo Janine, the organization’s director of communications.
The note is not new. In 2018, Ocean 2012 made the same observation. The Import dependency historyFrance was then appointed May 21. At the European level, the fateful date was July 9. The irony is not only French: Spain, Portugal and Italy are also major consumers – and therefore importers – of fish despite their coastal access.
The environmental impact of farms
According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with 4% of world imports, France is the fifth importing country, tied with Italy, Germany, Korea, the South, and behind the United States (14%). ), China (9%), Japan (9%) and Spain (5%). In total, 179 million tons of fish (including crustaceans and shellfish) were produced worldwide in 2018, of which 156 million tons were for human consumption. This represents a consumption of 20.5 kg of seafood products per capita per year. But at the French level, according to data from FranceAgriMer in 2021, we consume 33.5 kilograms per capita. The problem, in addition to this excessive consumption, is that we all eat the same fish. Salmon, cod, and tuna are largely among the top three most consumed fish in France.
Thus, while France “It is the main consumer of salmon in Europe, and there is only one active farm in France, in Cherbourg. The salmon has to come from somewhere.It comes mainly from Norway, the world’s largest producer. If some agricultural projects in France are under consideration, they are being heavily criticized for their environmental impact due to the waste they produce, and the antibiotics used in Intensive farming, especially animal meal used to feed fish.“Whether the breeding takes place in Norway, Chile, Scotland or France, we have the same problems. The idea is definitely to relocate but above all eat less. Before salmon it was simply for Christmas, today you can’t find a bakery that doesn’t serve a sandwich Salmon “, continues the World Wide Fund for Nature. On average, each Frenchman swallows 2.7 kilograms of salmon per year.
Other types that are more popular with French consumers are also among the most imported. All types of tuna in cans or in sushi are largely imported. It is caught in West Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, it is landed and processed in the Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar.describes Frederic Le Manach, Scientific Director of the Ocean Defense SocietyThrives. We consume 3.9 kilos per year per inhabitant. The same for cod (2.8 kilos per year per inhabitant), “which comes mainly from Iceland and Norway”for place (also called hake, 2.3k), It is found mainly in rusk fish that comes from Alaska.And shrimp 1.9 kg. Only mussels (2.4 kg) come from French production.
“We can consume a wide variety of species in FranceSorry, Frederic Le Manach. Our anglers catch a lot of fish that no one knows about, such as bot, pollack, or hake, which are not well appreciated. [sur les étals] Because it is more difficult to cook. The pout, for example, from the same family as cod, turns into an animal meal intended especially … for farmed fish. “As an alternative to salmon, we also have trout in France, on much smaller farms,” He suggests. The scientific director indicates the responsibility for mass distribution: “They have chosen to highlight only two or three species, because they know they will have it all year round. For example, in salmon, a handful of farms do most of the production and are guaranteed to have the same product, the same quality, the same color, on the all year round.
In addition to consuming less, the associations also advocate better consuming. “It’s like meat, you have to move to another place but only on the condition that you eat much less of it”WWF’s Arnaud Gauffier insists. Thus the NGO publishes a guide to help consumers find their way according to three criteria: species, origin and method of hunting. Arnaud Jovier especially recommendAvoid Mediterranean sardines, no matter how you catch them, because they are out of stock. There are fewer problems with Atlantic sardines. Even if caught by trawl [technique qui consiste à tracter de longs filets, en capturant toutes les espèces sans distinction, ndlr] Because it moves in shallow water and there is no danger of catching anything else. On the other hand, Atlantic trawling is a disaster because you catch everything, be it bass, monkfish, hake, and of all sizes. On the line, why not. It’s more selective and we put it back in the water again.” Prescribe the program manager.
“For people who can afford it, we should prefer coastal and eclectic fishing, on small line fishing boats.. But we must not condemn all industrial sectors, because there are those who do not have the means. We know some don’t eat fish at all, and if we want the kids to have some in the canteen, there are well-managed certified fisheries, like hake in the Gulf of Alaska.explains the director.
A point of view that Bloom does not share, condemns testimonies Ideas for mass distribution. In its 2020 report, the NGO revealed that 83% of the certified catch between 2009 and 2017 came from “One of the most destructive fishing methods in the world, such as trawls and shovels”. Today, the association is advocating a ban on these technologies in marine protected areas, a proposal that the European Parliament will debate this week.
Update : Add res Monday, May 2 at 11:30 a.m. Quote from Margaux Janin