However, the existence of different communities raises questions about the legality of their presence, how difficult it is to know their numbers, their equipment and catches and, especially, their known association with the phenomenon of illegal immigration by sea.
The practice of artisanal fishing through the search for fishing resources has led to the migration of numerous fishermen to areas where they can fish. However, with the integration of seafarers into illegal migrant networks and channels, the question arises as to whether they are fishing to migrate or migrating to fish.
The media coverage of the ‘busts’ made by the French border police (DCPAF) and the French Navy involving boarding canoes loaded with illicit passengers, making arrests on the outskirts of camps of undocumented migrants or rescuing shipwreck survivors, means that certain authorities (shipping companies, national police) routinely stigmatise these fishing communities. It seems that there is a growing disinterest in a situation described as a ‘massive influx’, and which is difficult to manage from a logistical, diplomatic, legal (respect for human rights) and financial (taxpayer’s money) in terms of helping, welcoming or repatriating migrants, often facing countries of origin that refuse to cooperate.
The fact that fishermen and their families have almost complete upstream and downstream control in the artisanal maritime fishing industry (ranging from fishing to ancillary activities, i.e., scaling, processing and fish trade), which moreover is mostly informal, means that the sector can be considered an ethno-business.
The combination of these factors has sometimes led the authorities to react in a drastic way: violent and unannounced raids, partial or total destruction of camps, evictions and expulsions.
This situation illustrates the extreme vulnerability of these non-native populations living in or close to the National Park. It is a reminder of the obvious need to regulate a rapidly growing economic activity that, even though it is unofficial and illegal, generates wealth as it is a part of the local economy. From this point of view, one of the priorities for the future must be to clarify the status of these artisanal fishers.