What is being fished here?

Boulogne-sur-Mer is France’s most important fishing port and enjoys a strategic location between the 2 fishing grounds of the North Sea & the Channel.

It’s enough to make your mouth water!

Between 30,000 and 35,000 tonnes of fish are unloaded every year at Boulogne-sur-Mer port. They include 70 different species of fish. As you can imagine, the hardest thing to do at the fish stalls in Boulogne is to make a choice! 

Dozens of fish to try

So, what is being fished in the seas around our coast? There is ‘aiglefin’ (more commonly known as haddock), cod, whiting, plaice, bass, mackerel and flatfish which lie flat on the seabed such as sole, turbot and skate. All are made into delicious dishes in the local restaurants. Enjoy!

Herring reigns supreme

Herring is one of the top species and has created the port’s wealth for many years. It is called the ‘king of the fish’ here and is celebrated in November each year. There is a good reason for this. Herring is only fished during this month between Dover and Boulogne-sur-Mer. In November, the fish arrive in their millions off our coast to reproduce. Smoked, kippered, pickled or canned - there are so many ways of eating them!  It is worth remembering that seafood curing and fish smoking still remain highly prized skills in Boulogne-sur-Mer. The port is home to several hundred-year old smokehouses. 


The bottom of the North Sea and the Channel are also home to a myriad of invertebrates such as lobster, sea urchins, crabs and octopus. The seafood platters are worth shouting about! From October to May, scallop fishermen unload the famous scallops in Boulogne. Subject to quotas, French fishermen are obliged to bring shellfish back alive. It is a constraint in relation to other countries, but a guarantee of freshness for consumers! French scallops are so well known because they are so very tasty. They have had time to mature to a good size and the flesh is meaty. Delicious!