France still far from the objective set by the European Union – L’Express

France still far from the objective set by the European

French sustainable fishing is struggling to catch up. In his last assessment published on Tuesday February 13, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) reveals that 56% of fish caught and landed in France in 2022 came from sustainably exploited populations.

Clearly, these are numerous enough to be collected without jeopardizing their long-term renewal. Up 2 points compared to the previous year, this rate nevertheless remains very far from the objective set by the European Union: to achieve 100% sustainable fishing by 2020. A delay in the program attributable to a lack of “political decisions which are binding”, estimates Clara Ulrich, coordinator of fisheries expertise at Ifremer.

If the share of sustainably fished fish has increased since 2000 (it was then 10%) and 2010 (32%), it has stagnated for five years, after having exceeded 50% in 2017. Sustainable fishing also varies depending on maritime areas. In the Mediterranean, for example, only 36.5% of fishing is sustainable.

As a result, a large part of the fish caught and landed still comes from populations whose renewal is in danger: in 2022, Ifremer reports 20% of overfished and degraded populations, like mackerel in the Atlantic or sardines in the Bay of Biscay. Added to this is 2% of so-called “collapsed” populations, such as hake in the Mediterranean or pollack in the North Sea.

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A practice which adds to the decrease in certain populations that are fished sustainably, in connection with global warming: according to the climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the number of marine animals could decline by 20% on average by the end of the century.