On the île d'Oléron, fish and seafood are synonymous with the port of La Cotinière, the biggest fishing port in Charente-Maritime. Here you’ll find a wide variety of the most sought-after fish species and top-quality seafood including wedge sole, sole, scampi, turbot and sea bass.
La Cotinière, Charente-Maritime’s biggest fishing port
With its fishing fleet of around one hundred boats and the 250 to 300 fishermen who work on them, the port of La Cotinière has retained the feel of a traditional working port, whilst moving with the times. Amongst other measures, it has introduced a digital fish auction and a boat hoist. The processing of whatever is caught is done on the boats themselves, with the seafood and fish being placed in boxes and ice added to keep the products as fresh as possible. Relatively short fishing trips help ensure the products are fresher and of better quality.
Did you know that the port of La Cotinière is the biggest traditional working fishing port in Charente-Maritime and Nouvelle Aquitaine? It’s the 7th largest fishing port in France. A total of 4,290 tonnes of fish are landed and sold at auction here, generating sales of 26 million euros.
Although La Cotinière specialized in sardine fishing for many years, nowadays it’s known for the diversity of its catch. There are over 90 species of seafood for sale here, most of them high-value products like sea bass, scampi, sole and wedge sole. In fact, La Cotinière is France’s number one port for wedge sole landings.
Towards a sustainable approach to fishing
From hook to the consumer’s plate, very specific measures are taken at the port of La Cotinière to guarantee product quality, most notably through the use of quality labels attached to fish. These labels guarantee the quality and origin of the products on sale.
For years, the fishermen of La Cotinière have played an active role in the more environmentally-friendly management of fishing stocks by using selective fishing gear enabling smaller fish and scampi to escape their nets. The scampi fishermen of La Cotinière have received an award from an international NGO – the first time such an award has been received by small-scale fishers in recognition of their contribution to sustainable, responsible fishing. Furthermore, they are extremely careful to comply with the fishing quotas they are allocated. Every day, the fishing boats bring back items of rubbish that they find at sea, thus cleaning both the ocean and our beaches.
Visites de la Criée
Afin de répondre aux exigences sanitaires des services vétérinaires et de garantir la qualité alimentaire des produits de la mer, l'accès au quai de débarquement et à la criée n'est possible que lors des visites guidées. Pour découvrir les secrets di port de La Cotinière, des visites guidées sont ainsi organisées à chaque période de vacances scolaires. Vous pourrez notamment comprendre le fonctionnement du port, et surtout profiter du spectacle de la criée. Réservation indispensable dans les offices de tourisme.
Ces visites qui permettent de mieux comprendre le fonctionnement du port et de la criée sont proposées pendant les vacances scolaires et le premier vendredi de chaque mois. Au mois de juillet et août, différentes animations sont organisées sur le port.
Sachez enfin que tous les jours à partir de 16h, sur le port, au "Marché de la Victorine", les poissonniers vous attendent pour vous vendre les poissons du jour, évidemment !