extraordinary solutions for Manchoi mussel farmers

Black coffin, wreath in memory of “Normandy mussel farming, 1963-2023?”cry as many symbols disorder of the profession… This is silent funeral procession who toured the center of Saint-Lô this Wednesday at the beginning of the day, from the town hall to the prefecture. About 70 Bouchou mussel growers came to express their concern about the spread of the mussel spider crabsa crab that destroys their farms.

Spiders that usually live further from the shore. But recently, not finding enough food, they tend to settle near the coast for a large part of the year. Ifremer has seen this progress since 2015 off the coast of Normandy. Water heating? Behavioral change? Several hypotheses are put forward. Be that as it may, the leading department of the media of France in “pay pots” death “hordes of spiders”– explains Loic Main, a mussel farmer from Brickville-sur-Mer, on the west coast of the English Channel.

On Chausey we have 50% less mussel harvest and on the coast about 25% less. Imagine any producer with 25-30% less yield. The authorities must take action if we want to keep mussels active on the west coast. Continue or stop… Given the number of predators, I give us another five years – Loic Man, mussel grower from Brickville-sur-Mer

A wreath in honor of “Normandy mussel farming from 1963 to 2023?”
© Radio France

Pierre Coquelin

“We notified the state authorities for more than five years to find a solution against them invasive predators and pests__ but we only had scoops”, – says Vincent Godefroy, president of the Shellfish Growers Syndicate of Normandy – Mer du Nord (Syconor). Mussel Boucho is “a product that grows by itself, in a natural environment, without affecting water supplies. And we are not able to save it. we will increase the import of mussels from Chile or other countries to compensate for the shortage”clarifies Loic Mayne.

“Like wild boars”

What mussel producers demand a kind of permission to kill in order not to die. “We want to at least regulate this overcrowding. It is the same as the wild boars that devastate farms on earth. We want to be able to protect ourselves. The profession and the seabed are devastated by this invasive species”notes Vincent Godefroy.

The population has increased tenfold from our coast to Cornwall in the south of England. The English did not hesitate to destroy them because it happened on the beaches and people could no longer swim – Vincent Godefroy, President of the Syndicate of Shellfish Growers of Normandy – Mer du Nord

The state has already allowed it catching spiders with a trap. A solution that some consider ineffective because the predators are too large. Crabs that are transported and thrown further into the sea. “We are no longer at the stage of intimidation. With a species whose population is doubling every year and which is being fished less and less, we are no longer in a state of fear. It has gotten to the point that some fishermen avoid areas in order not to start only spiders. Now it is necessary to adjust. The main predator is man. It must be destroyed, or everyone will eat it!”. A way to find a balance, like at the beginning of bush breeding in 1963.

The funeral procession went to the prefecture
© Radio France

Pierre Coquelin

This is reported in the press release of La Manche prefecture “to respond to the emergency and in addition to the measures already taken, a decree similar to the one currently in force in the department of Illes-et-Vilains will be introduced in the English Channel, which will allow the experimentation of new measures to combat predators, in particular by recourse to dredging funds around mussel concessions__”. Extraordinary measures, the results of which will be summarized in November during the next meeting of representatives of mussel producers and the prefecture. More than 16,000 tonnes of Bouchoux mussels are produced every year in the Manche department.

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