Traditional oyster culture in France

Type Article
Date 1989
Language English
Author(s) Heral Maurice
Source In : Barnabe Aquaculture (Ellis Horwood), 1989 , P. 342-387
Keyword(s) Rearing, Diseases, Analytical model, Overall model, Cultured stocks, Energetics, Reproduction, Nutrition, Physiology, France, Culture, Oyster
Abstract The indigenous oyster of mainland France, the fiat oyster, Ostrea edulis has been part of the human diet for centuries. The Romans collected them and exported them to Rome. Although tanks for holding oysters after harvesting were in use at that time (GreIon 1978) it seems that true culture was not developed along the coast contrary to the records of Pliny the Older. It appears that oysters were already being captured on hoards off the Italian coast. The exploitation of natural stocks continued through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. However, it was not until the 17th century that oyster culture began, first in the pools of the salt marshes of the Atlantic coast and then in specially managed ponds. Papy (1941) repeats a good description given in 1688 of the oyster beds of the Marennes-Oléron which showed that stocks of fiat oysters were by then being managed and improved. A decree by the Council 01: State in 1762 ordered the destruction of any oyster beds which prevented the circulation of water in the channels in the marshes. There is an article in the Encyclopaedia published in 1765 on the techniques of rearing in salt marshes which describes methods of culturing flat oysters from seed collected from rocks or dragged from natural beds. After two years the fiat oysters were separated from each other and grown for four or five years "rearing in beds or 'claires'". Later, although other uses of the salt marshes declined for technical and economic reasons, oyster culture flourished (Lemonnier 1980). However, in the early days, the juvenile oysters all came from natural stocks.
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