Imbroglio on social networks around a protected animal in Dieppe

A thresher shark intended for sale was bought at the Dieppe auction (©ADobe stock)

When Stéphane Novick, manager of the house Novick at Dieppe (Seine Maritime) published the photo of a fish caught the same morning, Monday July 11, 2022, on the page of his restaurant, he surely did not think he would create a controversy of the magnitude of that which we experienced this afternoon on the social networks.

It’s a post Facebook and one tweet of the journalist Hugo Clement who started the discussion. The journalist, known for defending the animal cause, criticizes the restaurateur, without questioning the legality of the purchase, for posting this so-called “accidental” capture of a thresher shark on social networks.

Accidental fishing

According to French law, it is not illegal to catch marine protected species if the fishing results from “accidental capture.”

This means, as its name suggests, when species inadvertently get stuck in the nets of fishermen, both professional and amateur. These catches must be listed by the fishermen.

“It is authorized to sell it and to cook it”

It was on this line of defense that the restaurant responded indirectly to the reporter through a Facebook post, stating “To respond to the many
insulting comments concerning the proposed fish: It is authorized to sell it and to cook it when it is an accidental and non-targeted fishing. This product was therefore legally available for sale at the Dieppe auction. (The post has since been deleted.)

There followed a series of publications and responses between the two parties. To show its credentials, the restaurant published a photo of the label of the purchase, on which was informed that the fish was part of the “mole” species.

Hugo Clément reacted by questioning the appellation of porbeagle, (by recalling that this one is also threatened), explaining that the Latin name “Alopias Vulpinus”, indicated on the label, corresponded indeed to a thresher shark.

This virtual pass of arms aroused a very large number of reactions. Contacted, Stéphane Novick did not wish to react.

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