Fishing and farming methods

Mussel and oyster culture

The different methods used to farm mussels and oysters are listed below.

Bottom culture

Bottom culture can be used to farm mussels and oysters. Mussel seed or oyster brood is sown on underwater plots​, where they are grown to consumption size ​and then harvested with special trawl nets. Bottom culture can be practiced with or without the use of seed collectors which are used to collect mussel seed out of the water. When farming without using collectors, mussel seed is caught by finely meshed trawl nets. Neither of these methods have impact on the sea floor. Oyster brood is collected at special breeding plots and also has no impact on the sea floor.


In France, oysters are grown in bags on ‘tables’ ​that are located in the intertidal area. The oyster brood is grown in hatcheries before it is placed in the bags. Oyster farming does not have any impact on the sea floor.

Hang​ing mussel culture

Mussels farmed using the hanging method are hung in the sea in long stocking-shaped nets and grown to consumption size.
The mussel seed needed for this farming method is collected by special mussel seed collectors, consisting of ropes or nets to collect the seed during the spawning season.
The mussel larvae attach themselves to the ropes or nets and grow to mussel seed, which can then be transferred to the hanging nets.
The advantage of hanging ​mussel culture is that there is a higher yield per kg seed compared to bottom culture. ​The hanging method does not have impact on the sea floor.

Bouchots (poles)

Bouchots are poles on which mussels are farmed. ​Ropes or nets lined with mussel seed are wrapped around the poles where they are left to grow to consumption size. This method is mainly used on the Atlantic coast of France. The mussels are harvested by manually or mechanically scraping them off of the poles. Some bouchots can even use the ropes that come from mussel seed collectors which have been used to collect mussel seed at another location. This is more sustainable than the traditional fishing​ method for mussel seed.