An interview with
Patrice Pétillon, purse seine fisherman
Having fallen into his father’s nets as a child, he finally took over the family business in 1993.
Aboard his 17 metre seiner, War-Roag IV, Patrice shares his purse seine secrets.
Could you tell us more about the purse seine fishermen’s association?
I’m one of those who worked to set up this group of fishermen. Our association, made up of 27 fishermen, was created in order to share our love of the profession, give it the value it deserves and develop a relationship that links all the boats. We are the second European fleet to receive the MSC certification. Once again, we want to underline that our approach is both sustainable and responsible, even more so given that we respect all the criteria of the MSC label.
How did you come to the profession?
I was born with seawater in my veins! It’s a world I’ve bathed in since a child, literally. My father had specialised in sardine fishing so it was only logical that I should learn the skills of the trade at his side. You could say that little by little he handed over the “purse strings”, in every sense. Today, I run a team of 6 to 8 people, depending on the season, based in Concarneau in the summer and Saint-Jean-de-Luz in winter.
What makes purse seine fishing so different?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s the most respectful fishing method possible, both for the seabed and for the fish themselves. Together with my crew, we are able to select the product before it gets anywhere near the quayside or auction. If it doesn’t meet our criteria, we can return it to its natural habitat… alive. Purse seining means we can avoid catching the fish we don’t want, or unduly stress or crush the fish we do.
The Qwehli story is…
I was seriously impressed when I visited the processing plant in Lorient. I find the Qwehli approach not simply very interesting but dynamic and responsible!