The French port of Lorient Keroman remains opened and boats are being encouraged to go fishing despite the impact COVID-19 is having on markets.
In the midst of a Coronavirus epidemic, there was no question of stopping the activity of the fishing port of Lorient Keroman. On the contrary, the State considers that it is a priority to maintain the fishery sector in order to continue to supply the population with fresh products. Only fish imports have been stopped.
“Keep eating fresh fish“. This is the message that fishing professionals want to send to the public.
Faced with a very sharp drop in purchases since the closing of school canteens, restaurants and the implementation of the first containment measures, representatives of the sector met at the beginning of the week at the invitation of Sem Lorient Keroman, port management company.
The prefecture and maritime affairs were also present around the discussion table, anxious to better understand everyone’s fears and expectations: fishermen, fishmongers, fishmongers, etc.
“The situation is completely new, ” said Notes Benoit Jaffré, director of the port.
According to Sem estimates, the activity volume of the Lorient Keroman fishing centre should drop by 40 to 50%.
Tuesday morning, out of a little over 70 tonnes of seafood, nearly 11 tonnes were left for withdrawal, for lack of buyers, to be transformed into animal meal.
“This is the direct consequence of the closure of schools and restaurants, added to a total uncertainty about the future of the crisis.” analyzes Benoît Jaffré.
However, the State considers it a priority to maintain the activity of fishing ports in order to continue to supply the country. This will be the case for Lorient Keroman who decided only to stop the importation of fish via his sales department so as not to clog the market.
The decline in general activity, as everywhere, should nevertheless lead to partial unemployment measures in most port companies. As for the fishermen, almost all of the Lorient boats are currently at sea, even if the concern of seeing prices collapse is palpable.
“If we want to continue fishing, the boats must find a financial interest,” said Benoit Jaffré.
The industry has therefore asked the State to provide for exceptional compensation measures if prices continue to fall.
They also want the large retailers to continue to buy fish and maintain their fresh produce to support the market.
“It is essential that we manage to maintain a flow of activity throughout the duration of the crisis. Especially since eating fresh fish poses no risk, on the contrary,” said the port director.
Mr Jaffré finished by saying “If the seafood supply chain were to stop, its recovery could be long and extremely costly.”
Source: Lorient Keroman