Arcachon Bay becomes the 6th French marine nature park
On June 8th, for the World Oceans Day, French Bassin d'Arcachon (Arcachon Bay, in English) officially became a marine nature park, the 6th in France after the Gulf of Lion, the Picard estuaries and the Opal sea. This 420-quare-kilometer marine aera comprises 127 km of coasts and a rich yet fragile ecosystem: dunes, saltmarshes, eelgrass beds, in which seahorses, cuttlefishes and turtles find a shelter. Arcachon Bay is also the second marina of the Atlantic coast, with approximately 40,000 tourists and 12,000 ships every year. It is renowned for its numerous oyster farms: almost 350 companies are located there. Finally, Arcachon bay hosts the major bird reserve of le Teich, in the Gironde department. Marine nature parks were created in 2006, and aim at preserving French waters: 20% of French territory waters are to be classified as protected areas by 2020. The next sites that may become marine nature parks after Arcachon Bay are the Gironde estuary, the Charentes sluices, or areas in Martinique and Cap Corse.
Oysters are brought in parks located on the Banc d'Arguin, at the entrance of Arcachon Bay.
They eat plankton carried by white waters, and marine streams progressively pull them into an elongated and regular shape.
Laurent Mignaux / MEDDE-MLET