Almost all year round in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc - Paimpol - Les Caps destination, shore fishing attracts more and more fans on our foreshores during high tide. Accessible to all, it is nevertheless subject to strict regulations that seek to protect the environment, its resources, our health and our safety. To find out more, I went with Franck Delisle from the VivArmor Nature association to discover this practice which is so popular in the region.
A privileged site
With a tidal coefficient of 80 or more, it's paradise for shore fishermen! The sea finally recedes more widely, revealing many of the treasures that usually remain out of reach. And it has to be said that the Bay of Saint-Brieuc - Paimpol - Les Caps destination, which offers a great diversity of shellfish and crustaceans, is a hotspot for this practice – attracting around 8,000 enthusiasts in the Côtes d'Armor alone.
Shrimps, clams, cockles, oysters, scallops, abalone and even crabs of all kinds: the choice of delicacies to feast on is vast along our coasts, as I can see during my walk in the company of Franck. Being a novice in this practice, he shares with me his best techniques – in addition to patience – for finding the precious commodities sought. Here, there are two small holes in the sand – probably concealing a clam. To flush out this burrowing shell, all you need to do is scrape the sand with a small claw or with your hands. For velvet crabs, on the other hand, you have to lift the stones to find these crustaceans who love to play hide and seek. As for shrimp, a net is enough to obtain a miraculous catch!
A regulated practice
Though this form of fishing, which is open to all, seems very accessible to me, it is nonetheless subject to regulations that make it possible to protect the natural resources of our coasts and respect biodiversity. For this reason, 'mailles' (minimum regulatory sizes) must be scrupulously observed during collection in order to promote the development of the species and their reproduction. For this, Franck gives me a ruler, available in many Tourist Offices, allowing me to measure each shell or crustacean and find out the maximum quantity I can pick up – and, in particular, the dates of any fishing bans (for scallops, abalone and dog cockles in particular). Equipped with this tool, I can sort my finds as I go and release any non-compliant catches on the spot, maximising their chances of survival.
Franck, who at each high tide carries out prevention on the beaches with shore fishers, also informs me of the importance of putting each stone back in the right direction. It is estimated that a stone returned and not replaced loses 30% of its biodiversity and will take three years to find the algae and animals initially present: up to 80 species on a single stone! And, of course, you'll need to be well informed of the tide schedules – at the risk of becoming trapped by the rising tide – and of the site's sanitary quality (by calling the town hall or consulting the site: pecheapied-responsable.fr) in order to make the most of this experience in total safety.
With all this good practical and responsible advice, I'm ready to go fishing on foot during the next high tide. I've already prepared the mayonnaise – all I need is the crabs and the prawns!
For all information on good shore fishing practices:
Main species: size and quantity
- Palourde clam : 4 cm (150 max)
- Hollow oyster : 5 cm (60 max)
- Flat oyster : 6 cm (60 max)
- Mussel : 4 cm (300 max)
- Praire clam : 4.3 cm (100 max)
- Razor shell clam : 10 cm (60 max)
- Cockle : 2.7 cm (300 max, except in case of local restrictions)
- Spisula : 2.8 cm (100 max)
- Periwinkle : (500 max)
- Common prawn : 5 cm
- Brown shrimp : 3 cm
- Crab : 14 cm
- Spider crab : 12 cm (6 max in free-diving)
- Velvet crab : 6.5 cm
- Lobster : 8.7 cm (from the eye to the junction with the abdomen)
- Abalone : 9 cm (20 max). Authorised from 1 September to 14 June inclusive
- Scallop : 11 cm (30 max). Authorised from 1 October to 14 May inclusive
- Dog cockle : 4 cm (100 max). Authorised from 1 September to 30 April inclusive
Aurélie Tiercin (also known thanks to her Blog Lalydo Breizh Life) invites you to follow her on her beautiful, gastronomic escapades through the Bay of Saint-Brieuc - Paimpol - Les Caps Destination! Her aim? To offer you the secrets of our best local products and specialities. Articles to make your mouth water and ignite a desire to meet new people: a fisherman, a pancake maker, a cider maker, a saffron producer, or even an expert on seaweed, both on the foreshore and in the kitchen! Are you a foodie? Are you always ready to learn more? Well then, you'll love it!