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The fisheries sector in France - Statistics & Facts

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over 30 percent of our marine stocks are overexploited. This means that a significant quantity of fish is taken from the sea at a greater rate than the natural recovery of the stocks. The fishing gears used today by professional fishermen are designed to capture fish, crustaceans, and mollusks with efficiency. At the same time, these gears are being researched to implement fishing methods that are more respectful of the environment and the targeted species.
Intended to control the cultivation of aquatic organisms, aquaculture, or fish farming, could be an answer to the population’s consumption needs and has been developing since the 1980s.

In France, yearly consumption of seafood products seems to have stabilized at around 33 kilograms per capita, with consumers spending more than 7 billion euros on a variety of aquatic products each year. While the volumes of fresh products sold are slowly decreasing, the opposite is true for processed products. It would seem that French consumers are leaning towards greater convenience and ease of preparation. However, seafood is not seen as a "necessity," compared to other food products, and represents a small part of household budgets. As a result, consumers have developed certain expectations regarding these products, such as sustainable fishing, origin, quality, farming methods, etc. As mass retailers (including discounters) are responsible for a majority of aquatic product sales, it is in their best interest to work for these expectations to be met, with labels and other proof of quality.
On the other hand, the coronavirus pandemic allowed some time for introspection in 2020. Consequently, a significant share of the French population declared the COVID-19 crisis to be the result of the lack of sustainability in consumption habits. This strengthened interest in responsible consumption, which also impacted the way fish was consumed.

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