First Spring Tides Set to Attract Thousands to Normandy Beaches

Normandy Offshore Wind Farm Meeting in Arromanches Tonight in EnglishThousands of people are expected on the beaches of Normandy this weekend as the first of this year’s Spring tides make perfect conditions for shellfish gathering known as pêche à pied.

For a third year running a special environmental survey arranged by marine agencies is also underway with people interested urged to take part in helping to find out how well species are surviving.

Sunday 02 March and Wednesday 10 March have been set aside by the Marine Protection Agency to gather information on the number, health and status of various shellfish species.

With the tides coinciding with the school holidays the demand on the beaches this weekend are expected to be particularly high and it is hoped that hundreds will find time to take part in the survey.

‘Pêche à pied is an ancient and traditional activity on the Normandy Coast. It is part of the living culture of the area. But no one really knows about its impact on marine life or on the coast,’ said a spokesman for the Marine Protection Agency covering Normandy and Brittany.

‘In order to make it sustainable it is necessary to know more about the enviroment, the practices of those taking part, most notably how many and how often. This information will help to target awareness and enable us to manage the coastline in a better way,’ he added.

Since 2012 people have been encouraged to take part in the national survey organised by the agency and those interested in doing so this year should contact Margaux Pinel on 0677 803973 or email margaux.pinel@aires.marine.fr.

The tidal range is expected to range from 95 to 115 for up to two weeks creating the perfect conditions for shellfish gathering. Popular species include clams, cockles, oysters, mussels and also prawns.

‘We are expecting large crowds over the next week. In particular with five days with a tidal rnge of over 100 coinciding with the school holidays, we can expect to see thousands of people,’ said Ronan Le Saut, deputy managing director of the Departmental Directorate of Territories and Sea.

He pointed out that many species are subject to size limits and people out gathering should make sure they comply with the rules. Special plastic gauges can be bought to check the size of shellfish and those that are too small should be put back.

The amount of fishing per person per day is also limited and varies according to the species. The limits are usually posted outside Maries and on notice boards at beaches. With the coming days expected to be busy it is also likely that both the police and marine officials will be making checks.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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