Inventory, Ecological Diagnosis and Restoration of the main flat oyster beds in Brittany (Flat Oyster REcoVERy)



Project type




Project duration

Start Date

January 1, 2018

End Date

December 31, 2020


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The flat oyster, Ostrea edulis, was once a very important species on our Breton coasts, where it supported many fishing families. Many foreign fleets also came to exploit our stocks. But quickly overexploited by fishing, many shoals disappeared in the 19th century and the aquaculture of the 20th century did not succeed in recovering the production. Now this 200-million-year-old species is on the European OSPAR list of species to be protected: it has even disappeared from the North Sea, where reintroduction operations are underway in Germany.

In France, we are still "lucky" enough to have flat oyster beds in Brittany and particularly in the Rade de Brest and Baie de Quiberon. But for how long? These beds are in poor condition and are not subject to any conservation or management measures.

But the problem behind this species and its overexploitation is more thorny: it is linked to the habitat it is able to create. It is an engineering species, which builds (through its shell production) underwater mini-reefs that serve as supports and shelters for numerous other species (almost a hundred). A guarantee of biodiversity, these oases can also shelter species of interest to fishermen: scallops, cuttlefish and even abalone. During the plundering of the beds in the 19th century, an eminent scientist (Moebius, father of modern ecology), had compared the habitat of the flat oyster to underwater forests to make the State aware of the richness of these environments and of the irreparable damage underway: the term "biocenosis" comes from his study of the flat oyster beds...

In this context, the FOREVER project (FEAMP project phase I: 2018-2020) focuses on the ecological status and health of these latter beds and addresses aspects of ecological restoration. It is the first project of its kind in France. It echoes similar ones elsewhere among our European partners.

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The team


Laboratoires Ifremer LER MPL

CRC Bretagne Sud et Bretagne Nord

Cochet Environnement