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ENVIRONMENT

French football giants PSG fly into storm over plane journeys

French football giants Paris Saint-Germain made light work of their opponents Nantes in an away league game this weekend but then received a volley of criticism for making the relatively short journey to western France by plane.

French football giants PSG fly into storm over plane journeys
Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

“From Paris to Nantes with @qatarairways!” the Qatar-owned side tweeted as it showed Kylian Mbappe and other PSG stars boarding a jet for Nantes, just 380 kilometres from Paris.

The PSG side notched up an easy 0-3 victory to stay top of Ligue 1 and another video emerged on social media of its stars looking happy and relaxed on the trip home.

But with the carbon footprint of sports stars now coming under increased scrutiny, the video was seized upon by Alain Krakovitch, the head of SNCF’s TGV high-speed passenger trains.

“Paris-Nantes is in less than two hours by TGV,” he said on Twitter.

“I renew our proposal for a TGV offer adapted to your specific needs in line with our common interests — safety, speed, services and eco-mobility,” he added.

Qatar Airways, the emirate’s flag carrier, are the shirt sponsors of PSG.

The controversy comes against the background of a growing clamour in France from ecologists for restrictions on private jet travel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Pressure group Attac had on Friday pilloried PSG’s Argentinian star Lionel Messi for his use of private air travel.

“From June to August, Messi made 52 flights with his private jet, amounting to 1,502 tons of CO2 emissions. That’s as much as a single French person would be responsible for in 150 years,” it said.

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FOOD & DRINK

Moules-frites in danger: Spider crabs wreak havoc on French mussel population

Warming sea temperatures are bringing more spider crabs to France's coastline, which could spell disaster for the French mussel industry.

Moules-frites in danger: Spider crabs wreak havoc on French mussel population

You may not be able to see it from land, but underwater, an invasive species of spider crabs are ravaging the mussel population on the Western coast of France.

In Normandy and Brittany, mussel farmers are struggling to control the expanding spider crab population – which normally migrates onward, but has stayed put on France’s coasts.

Experts believe the crabs, who feast on mussels and all manner of shellfish, have not continued in their migration due to warming water temperatures, as a result of the climate crisis.

This has left French mussel farmers worried that if the crab population is not controlled, then mussel production could end in the region within a decade. 

Some mussel farmers, like David Dubosco, have lost a significant amount of mussels in just the last year. Dubosco told TF1 that in 2022 he lost at least 150 tonnes.

(You can listen to The Local France team discuss the future of moules-frites in our new podcast episode below. Just press play or download it here for later.)

Dubosco is not alone in his experience. According to reporting by TF1, production across the board will be lower this year 2022, which means that the number of mussels imported from other countries will likely increase, a decision that will not be popular with French consumers who prefer homegrown mussels to make the classic moules-frites.

The proliferation of the spider crabs has been an ongoing problem for the last six years, but due to warming waters, more and more have stayed in French waters.

The crabs do not have many predators besides humans – as they are edible, but the supply has begun to outweigh demand. Additionally, the crabs have grown so big that traditional cages used to trap them are no longer effective, according to Actu France.

On September 21st, over 80 mussel producers staged a demonstration in front of the Manche préfecture in Saint-Lô to demand further measures against this invasive species.

“We have seen the proliferation of spider crabs and our alerts have gone unheeded by the administrative authorities. The species comes to feed on our stocks,” said Vincent Godefroy, head of the “Group of mussel farmers on bouchot” (Groupement des mytiliculteurs sur bouchot) to Actu France. 

In response, the Manche prefecture met with six representatives from the group, eventually publishing a a statement saying it would allow “for the experimentation of new measures” to combat the crabs, which would include dragging them out to sea.

Additionally, government actors and mussel farmers will work together this autumn to conduct a study on the economic value of spider crabs with goals of building up a new industry. The assessment will be made in November.

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