Mussel farming is thriving in Marennes-Oléron with 30 farms in the area. Around 1200 tons are produced each year. La moule de bouchot (pilings planted at sea) is the most widespread kind of mussel in Marennes-Oléron.
Here, mussels grow in the sea according to an intertidal technique. They grow on a rope which is tied in a spiral on the pilings. This method allows offshore mussel production.
Mussel farmers use specific flat deck boats. The boats are equipped with cranes to facilitate work on the bouchots.
Since 2005, Marennes-Oléron's moule de bouchot bears a certification as a guarantee of its quality, reaching the highest category of hygiene standards. This trade classification means that A-category mussels can be sold directly to the public. Furthermore, Marennes-Oléron's mussels unlike a number of other mussels don't need to go through a cleaning process, which speaks volumes as regards to their quality.
Marc, a mussel farmer in Boyardville tells us :
" I bought a mussel farm 5 years ago. It was a way for me to go back to my roots. In this job it is important to give your full attention and anticipate, mussels are under constant watch all year round. From January to March focus is on the bouchots. In March, we set the ropes in the favourable spots. In my case I set them on the Saumonards Beach inshore. From May until early in July, we collect the first mussels. And from July to November we bring back the bouchots mussels. While this is going on in July and August we also cover the bouchots again with young mussels".