The guarantor of fishing quotas condemned for illegal fishing of bluefin tuna

He would have done better to come home empty-handed. On October 17, 2020, Eric Renaud is preparing to return with two friends from a sea bass fishing trip that did not give anything, off the island of Oléron. When he sees a ” hunt “ seagulls, revealing the presence under the surface of the water of predatory fish, in this case bluefin tuna. The temptation is beautiful. The amateur fisherman takes “Seven or eight” tuna, and only keeps four in its cooler, after cutting them. First problem: recreational fishing of this species is strictly regulated.

This is what reminded him of the gendarmes and agents of the Departmental Directorate of Territories and the Sea (DDTM) who control his semi-rigid boat on his return to La Cotinière, the port of Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron. The ministerial decree of March 16, 2020 imposes, in fact, the holding of a prior authorization issued by the State, but also, at certain periods, to release the live fish immediately. It also limits the catch to one tuna per vessel and per day, requires the marking of each fish caught and its presentation in “Whole or eviscerated”, but not cut. However, the report mentions four bluefin tuna, for a total weight of 42.72 kg, “Brought back unbanded and put in the form of nets before returning to port”. All without authorization. DDTM agents also believe that part of the fishing equipment is “Suitable for big game fishing”, like tuna fishing.

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Second problem: Eric Renaud is not really a stranger at La Cotinière. He heads the Producers’ Organization of the first fishing port in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The association is responsible for managing the quotas and fishing rights of the professional fleet when it is first placed on the market. It is she, in particular, who distributes the rings to professionals who are members of the European Bluefin Tuna Fishing Authorization (EPA).

Embarrassment within the industry

Suffice to say that its director is supposed to know the texts governing the fishing of this species. Especially since Eric Renaud is also a member of the bluefin tuna and swordfish commission within the National Committee for Maritime Fisheries and Marine Farming (CNPMEM) and he participated on October 2, 2020, fifteen days before the game. fishing, to a meeting during which “The professionals reiterated their wishes for a more in-depth supervision of recreational bluefin tuna fishing, in particular the strengthening of controls”.

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