Meeting with Yannick Hemeury

Manager of Breizh Marine Expertise

Today, we take you to meet Yannick Hemeury. A shipowner for 30 years, Yannick Hemeury started in the merchant navy in 1979 and is now at the head of Breizh Marine Expertise, a research and engineering office serving the fishing industry.
President of the local fisheries committee of Paimpol for 22 years, member of the national crustacean commission since 1989, member of the regional fisheries committee since its creation in 1994, president of the ASPTG (Association de Soutien aux Pêcheurs du Trégor Goëlo) since 2005 and co-president of the CML (Commission Mer et Littoral du quartier maritime de Paimpol), Yannick Hemeury is a committed sailor-fisherman with a thorough knowledge of the field and the actors who make it up.

Can you introduce us to Breizh Marine Expertise?

Breizh Marine Expertise is above all a philosophy of saying: "How do we move forward in time with the least constraints from fossil fuels?

Breizh Marine Expertise is involved in a number of projects including

  • The development of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture.
  • The development of seaweed cultivation in Tregor.
  • At the Paimpol-Bréhat test site at sea for the development of the tidal turbine industry supported by the Brittany region.

How are you involved in the Ailes Marines project?

If we go back to the genesis of the project, when it was presented to us in August 2009 in Rennes, I was vice-president of the regional fisheries committee and president of the local committee in Paimpol. There was a marine energy development project, offshore wind turbines in the north of the Côtes-d'Armor.

We participated in the meetings and took part in the choice of the least constrained areas and the definition of the alignment of the wind turbines.

Some time ago, the company Ailes Marines asked me to carry out a study to update the fishing activity in the wind farm area. A previous study was carried out in 2014-2015 in collaboration with the CDPMEM22 as part of the project's administrative authorisation applications. The aim of this mission is to determine who is really affected by the installation of the wind farm. Out of 280 boats, 22 or 23 boats, i.e. 10% in the end, will be impacted to varying degrees.

The discussion with the fishermen of Saint-Brieuc Bay on this subject went very well. With me they are transparent, there are no secrets, we speak the same language, it's easier.

They call me, I go on the boats and I look at the screen shots, the tracing tables, the map of the installations (traps and/or nets) with them .... The interviews last 1 to 1.5 hours, and I do a lot of teaching.

I have created a file that facilitates exchanges with fishermen in which it is mentioned the impacted period, the month, the season, when they fish, the periodicity, the number of days, the species they fish, their turnover... These exchanges allow me to have the real data on their impact

I then put you in touch with the RICEP which is a group of experts from the fishing industry who work in particular on this subject of the impact on fishing activity. These experts will validate the elements provided to prove the damage. An agreement can then be signed between the fisherman affected and Ailes Marines to proceed with the compensation.

"The aim is to overcome these oppositions and succeed in finding a climate of trust so that the adventure continues with both parties.

The trust and experience I have in the field allows me to have a dialogue, a privileged relationship with the fishermen I met when I was sailing.

The goal is to get past these oppositions and succeed in finding a climate of trust so that the adventure can continue with both parties, because fishing will continue despite the park, perhaps differently for certain trades, but today, we must be active and work together to move forward in the best possible world.

Why did you accept the mission?

Because of my political role as a professional representative for more than 30 years, I was involved in this project, I was in favour of it because we cannot oppose the government and we had to find the best possible compensation so that the fishermen could continue to work and evolve. I am resolutely optimistic, when things are bad, they are always good!

Our life does not end at the age of 30. Before being fishermen we are also citizens! We have a before and an after, what do we do every morning? We turn on the light. And the international context and current events prove us right. Can we get rid of renewable energies today? No. Can we emancipate ourselves from nuclear energy? No.
I am not for nuclear power, but there are also thoughts to be had in this direction.

"Today there is a mix of renewable energies, photovoltaic, nuclear... the energy mix is the well-being of living.

I often say to seafarers: "We are not just fishermen, we are also seafarers! There is not only fishing, there is also the merchant navy, the scallop, the ferries or even the offshore now... Some boats will probably have to redeploy to other fishing areas. Some boats will be affected, but tomorrow, the sailors can find work in the new trades that will develop with the wind farm and that is a strength!

What are your conclusions following your first exchanges with the artisanal fishermen?

I met about 20 fishermen who signed and only 3 did not. I found the exchanges constructive with interested fishermen, people who were more or less impacted, but above all happy to have someone with whom they could dialogue and answer their questions, as they admit to having difficulty obtaining information.

I'm really happy to be working for Ailes Marines and I'm enjoying this mission! It's not just a job, I think it contributes to the development of the project.

Aurore Paris

What is your opinion on the development of MRE in Brittany?

The development of MRE in Brittany must be dispassionate, and the positions of all parties must be changed.

Today, the world is changing, and I would describe today's MREs as the yachting of the 1980s. Forty years ago, the sea was for fishermen. When yachting began to emerge, there was new competition for the space that fishermen used to use and yachtsmen took their place.

Forty years later, pleasure boating is part of the water, and the players and citizens have access to it. It is the evolution of society, the creation of jobs, the development of nautical and leisure activities, Tabarly crossing the Atlantic... and fishermen who have also become boaters.

We need energy transition, so we'll have to live with it, we'll occupy the water. We have had privileged access as fishermen, but we are not the only ones who have the right to access this privilege.