D-3 before the Shellfish and Marine Culture Show of Vannes,today we introduce you to the profession of mussel farming.
In France, the most consumed mussels are bouchots mussels.
The name comes from the wooden stakes where the mussels grow. Bouchot mussels are farmed on the Channel coast in Normandy and Northern Brittany and on the Atlantic coast in Southern Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Poitou-Charentes and Arcachon Aquitaine.
How mussel farming works:
The mussels birth
In early spring, mussels are born between the Charente and the Loire. To collect the spat, ropes are stretched horizontally to allow the larvas to settle easily.
By June, the spat are large enough to move the ropes. They are placed on gantries which are called building sites. The spat will develop until the end of the summer (about 3 to 4 months).
In September, the ropes full of mussel spat are wound in spirals on vertical wooden stakes: these are the “bouchots” (mussel stakes). In order to protect the spat from predators such as crabs, the mussel farmer will place sleeves, also called Tahitian sleeves.
The mussels will spend another year on the stakes between winter and the following spring. During this year the mussel farmers will take great care of their breeding. They will remove the algae regularly so it does not disturb the growth, they will also watch out for possible predators: crabs, seagulls etc. Finally, the stakes are protected by nets to prevent the mussels from being carried away in storms.
After a year spent on the stakes, the mussels are harvested mechanically by boat or tractor. They are then washed, sorted and packaged for distribution and sale.
In addition to the Bouchot mussels of the Channel and the Atlantic, mussels are also farmed in the Mediterranean.
There are two types of production in the Mediterranean:
- Mussel farming in a lagoon environment (in the Thau pond and in Leucate). The mussels grow in nets of 4 to 6 metres hanging from the poles of the production tables. These nets are also called “socks”.
- Open sea farming: the mussels are suspended from lines attached to floats and kept 5 metres below sea level. The lines are up to 250 metres long.
Here you go! You now know all about mussel farming in France.
Meet us at the Shellfish and Marine Culture Show on stand n°14 to discover our products!