It’s a problem faced by men and women across France: lots of gaunt fishmongers, exhausted and full of fried or smoked catch that will never be caught for human consumption. They stand facing jacaranda trees outside department stores, waiting to be served what may or may not be edible by preapproved provincial restaurateurs.
“It’s not just us,” says Guy Philippe Janssen, a trawler worker, as he heads out for more hours of pink in the rough, and then looks back to say it’s not just men and women who are out of work. Every day, another 600 fishmongers and saloon-bar waiters are laid off, he adds.
“Before, fishing was a well-paid job,” Mr. Janssen says, and along with joblessness there has been the “lack of fishing as a heritage.” A small flock of parishioners at a nearby catholic church nod.
Many villages sit at the edge of the Mediteranean Sea. The fishing village of Nant-de-Costes, just outside Roissy Airport, is one of them. For two decades it has relied on farming and prostitution as its main economic livelihood. Life is hard: jobs are hard to come by, salaries are low, and there is no resort town or nearby highway.