Around a dozen fishmongers in Marseille have been fined up to €1,500 each for not putting the Latin names of fish on the labels of their produce at the market in the city's old port.
The fines of between €400 and €1,500 were handed out after trading authorities visited the Vieux Port earlier this month. Some fishmongers, who set up a stall at the port each morning, also reportedly had their stock confiscated.
The official EU rules state that the precise Latin name for each fish must be placed on the label along with the price.
While the rule may appear needless it is designed to prevent sellers purposefully misleading customers by selling them the wrong fish.
Yet the fishmongers in Marseille are up in arms and say the regulation is pointless.
“The customers don't even know the difference between a red scorpionfish and red mullet and they are telling us to put their names in Latin!” said a fishmonger named Marie, who said it's the first time in 25 years she has been fined.
“These people are bureaucrats who don’t know the industry. No client has ever asked me for a fish using the Latin name.”
Des inspecteurs ont verbalisé les pêcheurs et poissonniers du Vieux-Port qui n'avaient pas indiqué le nom latin de leur poisson sur leurs étals, conformément à une directive européenne. pic.twitter.com/GxbwczpJr6
— France Bleu Provence (@bleuprovence) June 22, 2018
Marseille mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin said French president Emmanuel Macron found the story of fishmongers being fined hilarious and vowed to end the regulation.
“After bursting out laughing when I told him, Emmanuel Macron guaranteed that the fishmongers of the old port would no longer have to write the names of the fish in Latin,” said Gaudin after having lunch with the president on Friday.