Boat bringing back its catch of the day to the port of Guilvinec

Top 5 French fishing ports in 2019 : a real advantage for professionals

Mis à jour le
18 February 2020
With its 3,427 kilometres of coastline and its strategic geographical position, France is a real player in European and global fisheries, taking an important place in the flow of European import and export goods. Fresh fish and seafood products are landed daily in more than 60 fishing ports in France, so, which are the most efficient ports in 2019? We reveal the ranking in this article.

France, a country of fishermen?

A fished product is landed ashore to be sold at the first sale in a tidal market, also known as fish markets. They are sorted, weighed, labelled and kept cold until they are sold in the 37 French tidal halls.

The fishing port of Boulogne-sur-mer on the top step of the podium in 2019

According to the 2019 tidal hall sales, the port of Boulogne-sur-mer is at the top of the top 5 French ports for the second consecutive year with 20,514 tonnes of seafood products landed.

For the rest of the classification, we find:

  • 2nd position: the port of Lorient with 18,255 tons;
  • 3rd position: the port of Guilvinec with 14,134 tons;
  • 4th position: the port of Erquy with 10,923 tons;
  • 5th position: the port of Port-en-Bessin with 8,948 tons.

Graph of the ranking of French fishing ports in 2019 Map of the various French fishing ports showing the top 5 ports in terms of quantity sold: Boulogne-sur-Mer, Lorient, Le Guilvinec, Erquy and Port-en-Bessin. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Downward trend in the tidal hall

From a general point of view, the French ports had a lower performance in 2019 compared with 2018 (drop in volumes of 6%).

A significant drop in landings in 2019 was observed in the Guilvinec (-15%), Lorient (-12%) and Sables d'Olonne (-11%) auctions.

This situation can be explained in particular by the context surrounding Brexit and the international tariff negotiations. An upturn in activity in the fisheries and aquaculture sector was observed at the end of the year.

According to the criteria of the turnover generated, the ranking is quite different in the top 3: the port of Lorient (66 187 k€), the port of Le Guilvinec (59 388 k€) and the port of Boulogne-sur-mer (46 318 k€).

The sales champion is the scallop

In 2019, the main species sold in tidal halls (volume) were:

  • Scallops
  • Sardines
  • Hake
  • Anglerfish
  • Whiting

The ranking remains unchanged from 2018. Only the (famous) scallop is up 10%!

 "The volumes are there and it's the result of good quota management!" Sébastien Baley, sourcing project manager at ProcSea.

Photograph of an auction box containing scallops First sale of freshly landed scallops.

Discover in real time the prices of fish and seafood products directly from the French and European auctions.

The role of fishing ports in the supply of catering professionals

Organisation of the French maritime sector : an asset for chefs

France has more than 60 fishing ports spread over its maritime frontiers. The maritime sector has managed to organise itself and represents an important economic sector for certain regions. Different actors work together from fishing to sales.

In France, professionals have access to :

Easier procurement for French restaurateurs

France sold 150,827 tonnes from January to October 2019**.

Photograph of a fisherman landing the day's catch at the fish market Landing of the day's catch at the port of Guilvinec.

The table below compares the supply of seafood products in France against other European countries.

We note that professionals who wish to buy seafood products have more advantages in France than in other European countries such as Italy, Belgium or Portugal.

Comparative table of sales in European countries Comparison of first sales volumes in 2019 in European countries.                                                                                   Sources : * https://www.eumofa.eu/map-of-eu-first-sales **https://www.eumofa.eu/fr - Monthly Highlights 2020 - 12 EU Member States (MS) and Norway reported data on first sales for 10 product groups

French restaurants have a fairly complete seafood supply circuit. They benefit from attractive prices depending on the period and a great diversity. In Paris, the logistics network is well organised compared to other regions of France, due to the proximity of fishing ports and the greater number of transport flows.

Also read "Fish to be eaten in Winter".

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