Aquaculture International

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 507–525 | Cite as

Shellfish farming and Coastal Zone Management (CZM) development in the Marennes-Oléron Bay and Charentais Sounds (Charente Maritime, France): A review of recent developments

  • P. Goulletquer
  • O. Le Moine


France is currently one of theleading shellfish production countries inEurope, harvesting more than 150,000 metrictons of the Pacific cupped oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and 60,000 tons ofmussels (Mytilus edulis and M.galloprocincialis) each year. Amongrearing areas, the Charentais Sounds and theMarennes-Oléron Bay rank first in Europe,with an annual production of 40,000 and 15,000tons of oysters and mussels respectively. Morethan a third of French production is marketedfrom the Marennes-Oléron area. As naturalC. gigas and M. edulis spatfall islimited to the Atlantic coast, theMarennes-Oléron Bay and the CharentaisSounds play a critical role nationally,representing more than half of French oysterand mussel spat production. The stockingbiomass in this area was recently estimated at125,000 and 20,000 tons of oysters and musselsrespectively. This biomass is deployed over4,000 ha of leasing grounds along the coastalarea and 3,000 ha of wetlands (oyster ponds),which are environmentally sensitive and subjectto numerous recent regulations.

Although a traditional, century-old activity,the shellfish industry now has to addressvarious new internal and external constraintsaffecting overall economic yield andsustainability. These include the management offreshwater inputs into the coastal area,impacted at the watershed level by agriculturefrom a qualitative and quantitative point ofview (e.g. irrigation activity). Moreover, theCharentais Sounds need to remain competitive onthe open market with other French and Europeanproduction sites, whereas its biological yieldremains one of the lowest in France. This hasprompted the industry to optimize spatialdistribution, restructure current leasinggrounds and assess new management practices aswell as new rearing techniques (offshore, longlines), which have led to conflicts overavailable space. In addition to technicalconstraints, local, national and Europeanregulations have increased significantly. Thecoastal law, water law, bird directives, andregulations concerning the preservation ofnatural habitats, wild flora and fauna andprotected areas are among the acts likely tohave an impact on the shellfish industry in thenear future.

These internal and external constraints onaquaculture sustainability are analyzed, andcertain case studies in the Charentais Soundsthat have led to user conflicts are reviewed.The diversity of habitats, human activities andinterests along this coast have resulted inhighly complex situations in which somemanagement attempts have been partly successfuland others have failed. These managementoptions are analyzed, and ongoing newapproaches are described, including cooperativestrategies among marine biologists,sociologists, economists, managers, coastalusers, and the shellfish industry. Based onthis analysis, requirements for the developmentof an integrated CZM plan in the CharentaisSounds are suggested, including the use of aproactive approach, geomatics and operationalmodels, as well as the development ofintegrated decision making structure to developCZM and then, the use of a stepwise model ofagreement-focused negociation for furtherconsensus building.

Bay of Marennes-Oléron Charentais Sounds Coastal Zone Management Conservation Environment-aquaculture management Stepwise model of agreement 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Goulletquer
    • 1
  • O. Le Moine
    • 1
  1. 1.IFREMER, Shellfish Aquaculture Research Laboratory of Poitou CharentesLa TrembladeFrance

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