However, it is more than just a place for fish, as it is also where seafood is processed and commerce takes place. It is a city within a city.
In Boulogne-sur-Mer, much like other ports around the world, fish reigns supreme. Every day, France’s biggest fishing port sees tonnes of fish unloaded by big and small vessels. 380,00 tonnes are landed every year! But did you know that these fish, so loved in Boulonnais, do not just arrive by boat? Some of the seafood is also transported by lorry. The depot at Boulogne port is one of the most important in Europe. And for good reason...
Processing and commerce
Thanks to its geographical position and historical expertise, Boulogne port has also become the top centre in Europe for the processing, distribution and trading of seafood. Open 24/7, it never closes. Every year, 380,000 tonnes of fish are traded and processed in the Capécure area. If you like smoked fish, the chances are that it was prepared in Boulogne. If you defrost frozen fish, nine times out of ten it will have been processed in Boulogne!
All the trades in the industry are concentrated on the single site in Boulogne port, including fitting out, fish filleting, trading, canning, creating ready meals and frozen products, smoking and curing (a real speciality!) and research and development, etc. Nearly 200 businesses are located in the port and in the operations area.
A well organised maze
The port of Boulogne-sur-Mer is a real maze and confusing for visitors. The Harbour Office monitors boats leaving and entering the port. The Halle Jean Voisin is where trawlers unload and display what is for sale. The Auction is where the bidding takes place every morning for the fish which has been unloaded. In Capécure 1 and 2, the fish is processed into ready meals. At the Ateliers de la Marée, the fish is cut, frozen and packaged. At the Gare de Marée, trucks arrive to unload fish which has come from elsewhere. At the Slipway, trawlers and fishing boats are repaired or built. This organised maze is difficult to grasp, but very fascinating. Tours organised by the Tourist Office will help to unravel it all!