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Sète fishing co-operative Sathoan has been awarded a Pêche Durable sustainability award for 15 boats fishing for bluefin tuna. Image: Stéphane Jacquot / agriculture.gouv.fr

The award of the Pêche Durable sustainability label to the bluefin fishery pursued by a group of fishermen from Sète is a first and is the culmination of a long process involving the fishermen and the buyers they supply.

The group receiving the award is the Sathoan co-operative in Sète, a collective of 55 vessels, of which 15 hold bluefin licences.

The Pêche Durable certification comes from the Directorate of Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture (DPMA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
‘The fishing profession does not have a good press. I am part of the young generation of fishermen who prefer to work on ecologically responsible lines, with respect of the species,’ explained Sébastien Fortassier, a young fisherman whose boat is one of the 15 to hold a bluefin license.


The Pieche Durable label for the Sathoan bluefin fishery is a first. Image: DPMA

These coastal vessels fish exclusively with hooked gear in the Gulf of Lion, Corsican waters and north of the Balearic Islands. Catches are sold fresh.

This award of the label is the culmination of almost three years of effort by fishermen and their partners in the downstream sector. The certification, managed by FranceAgriMer and validated by certifying body Certipaq, currently involves 15 participating vessels in the Mediterranean.

According to Sathoan’s manager Bertrand Wendling, the fishermen have made this choice of certification because it is ‘accessible for a small-scale fishery, comprehensible to the consumer and applies to all aspects of sustainable development.’

The certification brings together all the scientific and technical aspects that make it possible to demonstrate good practice in fisheries that have been audited for all the vessels to meet the requirements of the eco-label.

‘This eco-label meets the requirements of the Common Fisheries Policy because it aims to ensure the long-term future of fishing, while preserving the resource,’ Bertrand Wendling said.

According to DPMA, the certification of this artisanal bluefin fishery represents as strong signal, as the first in France to be certified.

‘Although the state of fish stocks, especially bluefin tuna, has improved, efforts must continue. The eco-label is encouraging for the fishing industry, which is intended to improve the image of fishing,’ a spokesman for DPMA said.