Big eat the small

  • 14/02/1996

In Audierne (Breton Cornwall in the west of France), a skipper explains, "Since a year, the crisis has deepened. The equipments cost more and mom but the fish prices have dropped." A fisherperson moans, "I have got eight kin of nets and this morning I only caught four monkfish." Rising costs is not new to fishery. But the fall in fish prices appeared only one or two years ago.

This happened after Spain joined the European Economic Community (EEC) and fish catches suddenly rose on the national European market. Moreover, in 1993, the Acte Unique Treaty allowed tax-free imports of fish on the European market and prices crashed.

Most of the financial help through the EEC's Lome Agreement seems to favour industrial fleets. The Spanish multinational Pescanova took over the greatest ship owner in Lorient, that is to say, half of the tonnage of this Breton port, which is one of the greatest in France. So, the conflict does not set Northern fisherfolk against those of the Third World, but artisanal fishery against its industrial counterpart.

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