St Pierre and Miquelon

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French fishing islands in the North Atlantic

St Pierre and Miquelon comprises two main islands off the southern coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The islands are fairly bleak and their chief importance is as a French presence in the North Atlantic, offering an opportunity to exploit the rich fishing grounds.

Most of the people are descendants of fishing communities who settled here from France. Their main activity is still fishing for cod. At times this has led to disputes with Canada, though these have now been settled with agreements on quotas. Even so, with the fishing industry in long-term decline, there are fewer opportunities and many of the islanders have been emigrating to Canada. The territory is heavily subsidized by France.

Living in a territorial collectivity of France, the islanders are entitled to send a deputy to the French National Assembly. Locally, they have their own prefect, who since 2008 has been Jean-Pierre Brecot.

They also elect their own 19-member territorial council. The political parties include some local parties and others that correspond to those in metropolitan France. After the 2006 elections the most seats went to Archipel Démain.

www.mairie-stpierre.fr/fr/ Municipal government site, in French

www.mathurin.com/ Mathurin - Online magazine, in French

People:7,000. French, of Basque and Breton origin. Life expectancy: 79 years

Government:Territorial collectivity of France, but self-government through a local assembly. Capital: Saint-Pierre

Economy:GDP per capita: $PPP 7,000. Main exports: fish and fish products

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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