A little more than a year after the beginning of the pandemic, which saw scenes of panic with many a supermarket trolley piled high out of a fear of food shortages, the French have come to see that they actually wanted for nothing during the crisis and food supplies were barely affected. However, the events we are going through have raised the question of the security of these supply chains and shown the importance of having national agricultural production to draw on. In that regard, while the country has significant capacity in fisheries, it remains highly dependent on imports to service the national demand for seafood products.
This is a significant paradox which Sébastien Abis and Cyrille Coutansais delve into in this article. But there is also a way forward here that has been insufficiently explored by the French agrifood sector, involving abundant assets that could be exploited and potentially affording useful synergies with terrestrial agriculture (‘combining the blue with the green’). Completing our series on the seas and oceans, this article provides an overview of the French aquaculture sector, highlighting the challenges that have confronted it — and continue to do so — in a context of trade globalization, and urging that we draw on the resources it enjoys to bolster the French agricultural sector and national food security.