Erwann Lefloch, Secretary General of Smidap: “Our job is to support companies in the fishing and aquaculture sector in the sustainable development of their activities, with environmental management as the main concern”
We spoke with Erwann Lefloch, Secretary General of Smidap to tell us how this French institution contributes to the development of regional aquaculture and fisheries in the Pays de la Loire and how it defends sustainability in the environmental management of plastic waste at the end of its life useful.
In addition, he will explain to us what his role is in the face of the change in procedures and the implementation of new technologies in the sector. From Smidap, the use of new biodegradable and compostable materials in the cultivation of oysters and mussels in France is positively valued, provided that the tests validate their technical performance.
1- TO BEGIN WITH, WE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE POSITION OF SECRETARY GENERAL OF SMIDAP? WHAT WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENTS AT THIS TIME?
The Smidap has existed since 1982.
I was hired as a project manager in 2010 and I became general secretary in 2013.
The most important achievements are those to come: our job is to support companies in the fishing and aquaculture sector in sustainable development of their activity with environmental management as a major concern. We are a tool to support industry professionals in Pays de la Loire. The projects are multiple and very diverse and our role also evolves according to the projects.
2-AFTER A YEAR DISRUPTED BY COVID, HOW ARE BOTH THE OYSTER SECTOR AND THE MUSSEL PRODUCER IN THE PAYS DE LA LOYRE? HOW HAVE SALES, PRICES AND THE QUALITY OF THE PRODUCT ITSELF BEEN AFFECTED IN THE LAST YEAR?
The shellfish production sector has withstood the Covid crisis well with the responsiveness of professionals and the support of Région Pays de la Loire. The 2020 holiday season demand and prices were correct for oyster farmers and the opening of the restaurant in the spring allows mussel farmers to consider a good marketing season
3-HOW DOES SMIDAP SUPPORT ITS ASSOCIATES IN A SITUATION LIKE THE ONE WE ARE GOING THROUGH? WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL/ECOLOGICAL CONCERNS THAT SMIDAP AND ITS COLLABORATORS/PARTNER HAVE?
- Support for the various fishing and aquaculture sectors on sustainable development practices
- Promotion of mussel by-products
- Improvement of the use of plastic packaging and production tools
- Study of the supply of regional canteens (schools, colleges, retirement homes) with locally caught seafood
4-WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN CHANGING PROCEDURES AND IMPLEMENTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES? IS THERE ACCEPTANCE IN THE USE OF NEW TYPES OF MATERIALS?
At the request of professional organizations, we can provide project management and / or project management for projects related to the testing of new technologies.
SMIDAP has piloted numerous projects linked to new shellfish production techniques (see reports on its website).
The use of new types of materials, such as bio-based and compostable bioplastics, may be accepted on condition that tests are carried out validating the technical performance of these products, as is currently the case for biodegradable and compostable pickling nets.
5-ECOPLAS IS WORKING TOGETHER WITH FRENCH INSTITUTIONS IN THE SECTOR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMPOSTABLE FILET CATINAGE FOR CULTIVATION IN BOUCHOT. HOW DO YOU THINK THE NEW PLASTIC LAW AFFECTS TO MUSSEL AND OYSTER FARMING IN FRANCE? IS THE SECTOR PREPARED?
ECO-NET pickling nets are currently being tested by some mussel growers, it is still too early to conclude on their technical performance.
For the moment, regulatory changes do not aim to prohibit the use of certain plastic production tools in shellfish farming, but rather to better manage their end of life, through the establishment of an Extended Producer Responsibility (REP ) no later than January 1, 2025.
The financing of the treatment of plastic shellfish waste will be made through contributions paid by the various players in the chain (manufacturers, marketers, users, etc.).
Today, most plastic shellfish production tools do not have recovery channels, and end up in landfill. Given its polluting aspect, this method of waste disposal will be taxed more and more by the state in the years to come and could therefore encourage users to turn to recyclable or compostable alternatives.
The shellfish sectors are therefore concerned by this situation and wish to move the problem forward. We are therefore seeing a significant awareness and mobilization of professionals on the subject.