Shellfish gathering

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3 advices for a sustainable shellfish gathering

In France, every summer, two million people reach to the foreshore at low tide trying to catch some crabs, clams or razor-shell… Once professional, shellfish gathering on the shoreline is now mainly a hobby. Each and every one can practice it, but some regulations must be respected to ensure the protection of the species and to avoid any health issue.

1. Choose the right location

Shellfish gathering is to be done on the foreshore: the area that reveals at low tide. Every type of foreshore is an ideal playground for shellfish gatherers. Some areas have a restricted or forbidden access : channels, harbors or oyster farms, but also the areas affected by local or temporary pollution.

You should absolutely respect this interdiction: if eaten these animals can be dangerous for your health. Some preserved areas like Moëze Oleron, have their own regulations: species are protected from gathering or it is only allowed during specific periods.

2. Respect the minimal size

Every year, on Oleron Island only, 300 tons of shellfish and crustaceans are collected by gatherers and among them 200 tones are against regulations. It is crucial to leave enough time to species for them to reproduce. To ensure this process, a minimal size for gathering has been determined.

For more information on minimal sizes: Click here

Non-respecting the regulations can lead to fines.

3. Gather in moderation

There is no use in gathering more than you can eat! Regulations allow an amount of 5kg per day and per person of shellfish and crustaceans.

Gather in moderation:

  • It is forbidden to sell your gathering. Only professionals are allowed to do so.
  • The foreshore is a fragile environment; please put the rocks in the same position you found them before lifting them up. Crustaceous female carrying eggs shouldn’t be gathered.
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