Freshwater, Fish and the Future: Proceedings of the Global Cross-Sectoral Conference

How to Transmit Information and Maintain Knowledge in the Context of Global Change for French Inland Commercial Fishers

Philippe Boisneau, Nicolas Stolzenberg, Patrick Prouzet, and Didier Moreau

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9789251092637.ch25

Abstract .—For the past decade, French inland commercial fishers have faced increasing difficulties in maintaining their fishing and marketing activities for the fish consumption sector. Lack of political will, combined with short-sighted political decision making and increasing regulatory constraints, has made it difficult to develop opportunities for inland commercial fishing. A lack of collective organization among inland fisheries markets, the sector’s poor visibility and image, and conflicts with recreational angling associations have also contributed to these difficulties. Consequently, some small-scale commercial inland fisheries are undergoing liquidation. However, this sector has also made important contributions to society by diversifying its activities through environmental services such as data collection for knowledge and conservation of native fish biodiversity. Indeed, in most cases, professional inland fishers provide the only data on fish stocks and the health of continental aquatic ecosystems. Indeed, this information, knowledge, and associated heritage are part of a cultural legacy that deserves to be preserved, given that fishing plays an important role in the social and cultural identity of many fluvial and lakeside territories. Commercial fishers could also play a significant role in implementing long-term cross-sectoral policies through their contributions to sustainable hydrosystem management, local gastronomy, and ecotourism. This paper presents the strategy that was used to try to halt the general decline of small-scale commercial inland fisheries in France and Europe and describes why the strategy failed.