The French mussel industry : present status and perspectives

Type Article
Date 2002
Language English
Author(s) Prou JeanORCID, Goulletquer PhilippeORCID
Source Bulletin of the Aquaculture Association of Canada (Aquaculture Association of Canada), 2002 , Vol. 102 , N. 3 , P. 17-23
Keyword(s) Mussel, On bottom culture, Suspended culture, Longline culture, French, Production, Mytilus galloprovincialis, Mytilus edulis
Abstract The French mussel industry produces around 60,000 metric tons on a yearly basis using two common species: Mytilus edulis, which is widely distributed along the Atlantic coastline, and Mytilus galloprovincialis, distributed mainly on Mediterranean shores. This production represents only half of the yearly consumption of mussels in France, leading to large imports from Spain and the Netherlands. Most imports occur between September and March, when the Atlantic production is reduced because of low meat quality due to spawning events. Although a public mussel fishery still exists, most production is based upon 3 culture techniques: on-bottom culture, longline and suspended culture, and bouchot-type culture, with the latter being developed in the l3lh century. Annual landings from the public fishery are highly variable because of irregular spat recruitment. Presently, more than 1600 km of bouchots are distributed along the coastline, yielding around 55,000 t of mussels. On-bottom culture, a traditional activity, is limited and yields around 3000 t. Harvests from longline culture have significantly increased in the last 10 years, showing various degrees of success depending on the geographic location. This technique allows development offshore, far away from any pollutant source. Suspended culture has been successfully used to compensate for the irregular spat settlement within the intertidal area, as well as to expand marketing activity and increase growth rates. ln the near future, the mussel industry will likely face several challenges, including increased sanitary regulations at the French and EU levels. This could result in further off-shore development, but might lead to space conflicts with other users (e.g., tourism, fisheries). To address that matter, Integrated Coastal Zone Management plans (ICZM) arc currently under development in several Atlantic traditional rearing areas. The issues of product quality and labelling, such as geographic identification for marketing purposes, arc among the top priorities for the mussel industry.
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Prou Jean, Goulletquer Philippe (2002). The French mussel industry : present status and perspectives. Bulletin of the Aquaculture Association of Canada, 102(3), 17-23. Open Access version :