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Etienne Fleurant: for the recognition of the black bass in France
Posted On 6 April 2020
Discover the interview with Etienne Fleurant, president of Black Bass France and fervent defender of this species in France for years. Etienne describes his career, his vision of fishing and his love for black bass.
Hello Etienne. For those who do not yet know you, could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us about your career?
Hi Nico, hi everyone.
Well my name is Etienne Fleurant. After practicing all kinds of fishing, it's been more or less 15 years that I have practically only been fishing with lures.
I come from a small rural town in the south of Vienne where I started fishing. First suddenly, then looking for predators, going through carp fishing to finally focus as I told you on lure fishing. It more or less coincided with my arrival in Gironde.
My job concerns composite materials (I work in shipbuilding). And after a brief stint in the Garbolino company, I wrote my first fishing articles (for Top Carpe and then Predators). Exchanges and meetings, I have over the years integrated the office of the AAPPMA in Lacanau. I collaborated with Pure Fishing Europe and joined Black Bass France which I have been taking care of since the end of 2013.
Where did your passion for fishing come from?
Honestly, I don't really know. Obviously I like the aquatic environment, its inhabitants but I am not from a family of fishermen. I have been lucky enough to be able to try out a lot of sports and recreation but fishing is the only one that I still practice. Why? .. No explanation.
What is your favorite fishing?
The one that brings me good times! Strictly speaking, I do not have a specialty. I am not very good at any type of fishing but I can do just about everything. On the other hand, it is certain that surface fisheries have something special.
Even if it seems obvious, do you have a favorite fish?
Can I answer something other than black bass?
You have been very active in the associative world and particularly at Black BASS FRANCE for many years, can you tell us a little more about this association and its objectives?
Black Bass France was founded in 1994 by Franck Rosmann, Claude Girardin and Marc Petrucci with the following goals and objectives:
Protect existing black bass populations
Promote the expansion of the species in suitable environments
Propose new methods of management of leisure fishing
Disclose and popularize fishing techniques
Protect flora and fauna
But rather than evoking the classic discourse on the Association, I will address more the role of Black Bass France in the shaping of sport fishing as we know it today.
The Association and its members were, over 25 years ago, the first representatives of sport fishing. Without today's customary means of communication, BBF has truly constituted a real “school”, notably through its Bulletin de liaison and its Meetings.
Obviously, we discovered new techniques, new equipment, but this was accompanied by "ethics" and the desire to become a player in the leisure fishing industry.
Over the years, the Association has grown in number and its members have become more and more involved in the French fisheries landscape. And this, whether in brands or AAPPMA, which gave even greater credibility with the authorities.
All this has enabled, for example, the increase in the legal size of black bass capture from 23 to 30cm or even participation in national and international groups.
To sum up, Black Bass France has been a major player in the development of sport fishing in France.
What is so special about black bass that you think deserves so much attention today?
Today it is necessary to pay particular attention to all species, to our environments. The difference is that the black bass has not necessarily benefited from preferential treatment due to its position as an allochthonous species.
Also, after the introductions following the world conflicts and the period when many managers used it to limit catfish populations, interest in this fish declined and populations followed the same curve. The democratization of sport fishing over the past 20 years has brought it back to the fore. He is now designated as the spearhead of this new practice.
But it was quickly found that the populations present were not sufficient to support this influx of practitioners.
Today, few types of fishing can boast of an increase in participants, as is the case with lure fishing. Suddenly, it appears necessary that the black bass, which is the sought-after fish (helping impact of globalization) be at the center of the discussions.
What do you think remains to be done to develop black bass in our waters?
The evolution of black bass in France should not be done haphazardly. This must be restricted to suitable environments and when the impact on other species present is assessed. This is why, overall, Black Bass France is only a force of proposal. It is then the managers who make the appropriate decisions.
But to change populations, where they are present and as with many species, there are not 36 solutions. If there are more deaths than births, the population decreases… If it is the reverse, it increases!
And that, in my opinion, involves strengthening the involvement of managers in the field. For example, estimate the populations and adapt the sample accordingly. I'll give you an example. It concerns the pike, a species deemed a priority by the FNPF, but which is quite revealing.
On Lake Lacanau, when I was a member of the board, the Federation of Gironde estimated the adult population of pike at 10,000 individuals. At the time we had around 1000 members. Predator fishing is open 9 months a year, or 270 days or so. The quota supposed to protect the species is 2 fish per day and per fisherman.
So I have no skills in environmental management but it seems rather confusing to me that we allow the collection of more than 500,000 fish where there are only 10,000 of a heritage species ...
Clearly, today's regulations allow species to become extinct and that is right in the eyes.
What are your greatest pride since the creation of Black Bass France?
To see that over the years, black bass is always more passionate. To bring together practitioners from all over France during the Meetings to fish, discuss and share this common passion which Franck ignited the flame more than 25 years ago and which Fred maintained.
What are the big projects in sight for this year 2020 for Black Bass France?
The year 2020 is I hope a year when several projects around sport fishing and black bass will see the light of day. Also, the role of the Association is to support these projects.
Because the Association does not have the human and financial resources to carry out its own projects. Because for that, it is necessary to have local support, to know the environments… On the other hand, providing all the documentation necessary for the establishment of a project is for example part of our activity.
This is why, as Franck did before, I encourage each member to get involved locally in an AAPPMA.
We struggled to find fish for the last nursery period, which proves that there are a lot of projects around this fish ...
We also see you very active within France BASS Nation, could you tell us a little more about this competition and its impact on our territory?
People see me at France BASS Nation events but I don't play a big role. More generally, I try to make myself available each time an initiative in favor of black bass is taken or an event is organized (such as the National Bass for example or fishing festivals).
Overall, over the past few years, competition has been the easiest way to bring managers and practitioners together. We may not find it very appropriate, but it is so. Also from the Interdepartmental Challenge, to the Challenge via AFCPL, all these organizations have succeeded in bringing together the various players in the fishing leisure sector.
Unlike all the other circuits, France BASS Nation is only interested in one species, the black bass. And that structurally makes all the difference. Because everything is turned towards this fish.
Americans have understood this for a long time now. To develop a product, you must not dilute information and interests. It is beneficial for the competitors, for the visibility of the sponsors and the communication.
Today, sites that have hosted events benefit from nursery stock from competitors, sponsors to which are added managers. And it seems to be profitable for everyone. I just hope that other sites are added to the existing ones.
A fishing anecdote to tell us during a black-bass session?
The black bass has this ability to adopt behaviors that generate emotions. This is why we fish it. That is why it is the most sought after freshwater fish in the world. Suddenly, each outing is punctuated with its share of surprises.
A message to pass on to young people who would like to discover the world of fishing today?
Houlà, I'm not old enough to speak like a wise old man ...
Fishing can be a fad, a hobby, a passion, a job… Everyone can place the cursor wherever they want. In any case, it is happening and must happen at the water's edge with the awareness that this practice, unlike many others, interacts with living things and in environments to be preserved.
Useful links to know more about Etienne Fleurant and Black Bass France:
Rodmaps is above all the story of Nicolas and Matthieu, two friends passionate about fishing. Since our childhood, our passion drives us to travel through France and to travel around the world in search of adventure and trophy fish. Through Rodmaps, we want to share our passion for fishing with as many people as possible and make people discover the joys of this sport around us, because yes, fishing is a sport!