Pictogramme ferries
Pictogramme météo

The auction

pictogramme bateau de pêche


The fish auction in the port of sète

chaluts à la criée de Sète

Fishing is a historic activity for the port of Sète.

At the end of 2022, the fish market building was completely refurbished to improve product handling, enhance quality and modernize the structure to make it more energy-efficient.

The Sète fish auction is an emblematic site in the town of Sète, a market reserved exclusively for professionals, where fishermen sell their freshly caught fish by auction.
The Sète fish auction is particularly renowned for the quality of its Mediterranean fish and seafood. It’s one of the region’s main fishing ports, and every afternoon on their return from fishing, local fishermen bring their catch to the fish market for sale.
Professional buyers, usually fishmongers and restaurateurs, gather to try and acquire the various lots of fish and seafood at the best price. The fish are on display, and the downward bidding is fast-paced.

  • First auction in Europe to be computerized in 1967. Bidding is no longer done by voice and raised hand, but with a display screen for the seller and a buy button for each buyer. In this way, the Sète fish market is developing know-how that will serve as an example for other fish markets (Port de Bouc, Arcachon, etc.),
  • The first auction to manage buyers’ outstanding amounts and payment terms in real time,
  • The sales system has continued to be improved, notably in 2009 by offering the possibility of raising the bidding in the event of a collision ( simultaneous purchase by several buyers), in order to guarantee the fairest price,
  • The rate of 700 lots per hour and the registration of 7 lots before the auction made it possible to set up programmed purchasing in real time and off-line.

Seafood auctions

After qualifying a lot (name of vessel, species, size, quality, day of fishing, etc.), the seller sets a starting price for the auction.

The lot is then simultaneously presented for sale online (on the Internet) and to buyers (in the auction room). As soon as it goes on sale, the price starts to fall.

Buyers are equipped with remote controls that enable them to acquire a lot by pressing the buy button. The designated product is awarded to the highest bidder.

Dutch-style descending auctions

Products are sold by top-down auction, known as Dutch auction.

enchères criée de Sète

In the event of a collision

In the event of a “collision”, i.e. if several buyers activate their remote controls at the same time, they want a lot at the same price: the auction goes up (the price rises).

The buyer who holds down the buy button the longest wins the auction, at a higher price.

collision enchères criée de Sète

This sales principle has the particularity of allowing a very rapid rate of sale. The Sète fish market sells an average of 700 bins of product (lots) per hour, for a total of around 1,600 lots per day. This guarantees the quality and freshness of the products sold.

The dematerialized online auction room

Access to the Sète auction room can be made from anywhere in the world, with just an Internet connection. Remote buyers of the Sète fish market can make their purchases directly on the online sales website and buy simultaneously.

Access to online sales

By logging on remotely, the buyer can directly access scheduled purchases.

Programmed purchases

Purchase scheduling is a service exclusive to online sales.

The sales path

To meet the needs of both fishermen and buyers, the Sète fish market has two sales routes:

The fleet of the fishing port of sète

The quays of Sète’s fishing port are home to a diversified fleet:

The Sète tidal market is home to 13 trawlers and over 200 small craft from Sète and the surrounding area. To come and sell their products at the auction, fishermen are required to provide a “acte de francisation”, a RIB and a registration form in order to be registered by the fishing port services. Port staff will be on hand to explain the tidal hall and how it works.

Every day, the Sète fish auction sells the products of trawlers and some 30 small-scale fishing boats (up to 40 at the height of the season).

Sétois fishermen are organized:

The fleet of vessels landing products at the Sète fish market is made up of several types of vessels with different and complementary fishing strategies:

chalutiers Sète
pictogramme bateau de pêche

Iron and polyester trawlers to fish offshore

(5 to 6 hours’ drive).

pictogramme bateau de pêche

Wooden trawlers fish closer to home, but beyond three nautical miles

(3 to 4 hours’ drive).

petits métiers Sète
Small craft fishing between the east coast and three nautical miles. And the small businesses that fish in ponds such as the Etang de Thau and the Etang d’Or.
pictogramme bateau de pêche

The range of products offered for sale at the Sète auction is diversified: eels, green crabs, anchovies, monkfish, sardines, scorpion fish, sars and sea bass.

Seafood products

The fish market offers products from artisanal fishing. The boats registered at the auction only go out for the day, which means that we can offer products of exceptional quality and freshness for sale.

In 2022, the most popular species sold at auctions were :

A total of 2,200 tonnes of seafood were identified, weighed, offered for sale and handled by auction staff and partners over the course of 2022.


Thanks to its unique location, between sea and pond, certain products are highly seasonal.

In October and November, after fattening up for a few months, the fish leave the Thau lagoon to spawn offshore. The best-known migrating fish is the sea bream. There is a strong supply of this product at auctions. These fish return to the pond in August. The fish have then spent some time at sea and return to fatten up in the pond. Spring is the season for sars, a sought-after product for restaurateurs. This fish is renowned for its fine flesh. Generally speaking, there’s a peak in supply for all species in autumn, i.e. from mid-September to mid-December.

Bluefin tuna

Tuna seiners and small-scale fishermen in Sétois fish bluefin tuna in strict compliance with international regulations. Their fishing seasons are governed by ministerial decrees, observers are on board the purse seiners, and there are daily checks at sea and on the quayside, and so on. Each year, ICCAT’s Scientific Committee sets fishing quotas based on the state of the bluefin tuna stock.

Each tuna caught is identified by a marking ring attached to the fish’s tail. This ring guarantees that the fish has been caught in full compliance with regulations.

Thanks to these fishing quotas, bluefin tuna stocks are now rebuilt. Seiners and small-scale fishermen are the first to be affected by this trend. This ensures the continuity of their profession.

The Thon Rouge de Ligne collective brand is proof of the awareness of fishermen and their commitment to sustainable, responsible fishing.

Today, with stocks in good condition, supermarkets are once again selling bluefin tuna. www.thonrougedeligne.com


Only professionals can buy at the auction. To do so, they must register with the auction’s administrative department: once the registration form has been completed and the necessary guarantees put in place, the buyer can come and make his purchases at the Sète auction.

Different types of buyers make their daily purchases at the Sétoise auction:

Local, national and international fishmongers: Wholesalers who may or may not process the product for resale to retailers (fishmongers, restaurants) or supermarkets. Brokers: Wholesalers who ship products directly to fishmongers, fishmongers or supermarkets. Retailers: These are the professionals who sell products to consumers: fishmongers, restaurant owners.
The Sète auction currently welcomes around 50 buyers. The first half are retailers and the second half are wholesalers and brokers. Once the lots have been purchased, they are picked up by the buyers themselves or by transport companies specializing in seafood products. In this way, the quality of the products sold is preserved, enabling auction buyers to send their customers products caught on the same day.

Other services


To enable seafood products to be packaged, the auction provides fishermen with reusable 30-liter bins for packaging their catch. Bins must be returned to the auction by buyers the day after their purchase. They are then washed and returned to the fishermen.


The wholesale fish market has health and safety approval for its auction activities, as well as being a shipping center for group 3 shellfish (snails, sea urchins, tunicates). Snails, tunicates and sea urchins are bagged and labelled in accordance with current regulations.


The fishing port offers flake ice for sale, from three production systems located at the fish auction. The ice produced is food-grade, made from fresh water. It is analyzed regularly to monitor its sanitary quality. Several distribution points generate a total production capacity of 20 tonnes per 24 hours. On the quayside, a distribution point is available 24/7. Any professional or private individual can come and buy ice by registering with the administrative services at the tidal hall.
Skip to content