Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Around 80 fishing boats in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France’s busiest fishing port, have today (March 16) been told to return to port, following agreement this morning between fishermen and merchants that the Boulogne fleet will tie-up due to the impact coronavirus is having on seafood markets.

The decision comes in the wake of plummeting demand and prices, as restrictions aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus are felt right across the sector.

With Italy already on coronavirus lockdown, on Saturday, March 14  France and Spain became the latest European countries to go into lockdown, closing all non-essential businesses, including restaurants and cafés, the reverberations of which are already being felt acutely in seafood markets.

Speaking to The Skipper regarding the decision to tie up the fleet there, Olivier Leprêtre, chairman of the regional fisheries committee in northern France said markets are at rock bottom and fishing is no longer profitable.

Expressing the gravity of the situation now facing fishermen right across Europe, Mr Leprêtre said it would be hard for the sector to recover.