Cockle farming – professions of the shellfish farming industry #3


It is soon the opening of the Shellfish and Marine Culture Show of Vannes, for this event, here is an overview of the multiple professions of the shellfish farming industry.

For each day, a profession! During four days we will introduce you to a key profession of the shellfish farming industry.

Today, for the third day, we will focus on cockle farming.

So what is cockle farming? It appeared in the 1980s in France but has been developing strongly in recent years. The cockle farms are mainly located on Le Traict du Croisic in the Loire Atlantique (an arm of the sea to the west of the salt marshes located on the Guérande peninsula) as well as onthe Bay of the Sommein the Manche.


In France, the production of Cerastoderma Edule (its scientific name) is around 10,000 tonnes per year. Of which 25% is from livestock.

Let’s discover the necessary steps from the birth to the harvest of the cockles:

The laying of cockles. This is where it all starts, it is done exclusively in their natural environment. It usually takes place between early Juneand late July.

  • SPAT

Spat is simply young cockles that are intended for farming. Most of the time, they come from Morbihan. In order for a cockle farmer to obtain young cockles for rearing, he must buy them from fishermen. The spat is fished in the Vilaine estuary by professional fishermen only.


Then, the small cockles are put to grow in mud flats which are uncovered at each tide.


Cockles that are out of the water at each tide are generally very strong and of better quality.



Before the cockle farmer can harvest the cockles, they have to be left in the sand for between 18 months and 2 years. In order to harvest, the tide must be low.

The large cockle farming structures harvest the cockles using tractors with harvesters or by dredging with a boat. Smaller structures collect by hand with a rake.

Once harvested, the cockles are ready to be shipped.


Pallet of cockles ready for loading to be shipped to Spain

For cockle lovers, here are the various ways to cook them:

Before cooking the cockles, it is strongly recommended to soak them in water with coarse salt.


For more information:

Meet us at the Shellfish and Marine Culture Show on stand n°14 to discover our products!

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