Ban on oysters from the Arcachon basin: the sale of shellfish authorized again by the Gironde prefecture

After “unanimous opinion from the departmental health commission”, the prefecture of Gironde announced on Friday January 19 the effective lifting of the temporary ban on the fishing activity and marketing of all shellfish, including oysters, from of the Arcachon basin.

This ban was ordered on December 27 after numerous cases of gastroenteritis attributed to the presence of norovirus in the water of livestock parks.

“This excellent news announces the expected return of oysters [from] Arcachon [and] Cap Ferret in the huts, on the sales stalls, and the smile of the producers on the markets,” welcomed the regional committee of the shellfish farming Arcachon Aquitaine (CRCAA).

According to state services, “no new contaminating event has been recorded on shellfish coming from the Arcachon basin” since December 22, the date of the last oyster harvest at the origin of one food infections.

Furthermore, “No new meteorological event with significant rain has been noted by Météo-France” and “no malfunction in the sanitation network” of the basin has been recorded since December 22 by SIBA ( the Arcachon Basin Intercommunal Union, responsible for the local sanitation network and rainwater management), continues the prefecture.

In order to “supervise” this reopening, the prefect of Gironde, Etienne Guyot announced “increase monitoring of the bacteriological quality of water and shellfish by ensuring weekly samples instead of monthly samples until the end of winter “.

10% of oysters produced in France

The Arcachon basin is one of the main oyster production areas in the country with some 8,000 tonnes per year (or almost 10% of the oysters produced in France). Losses linked to this ban are estimated at 5 million euros.

Two days after the prefectural decree of December 27, an association for the defense of the waters of the Arcachon basin, created by oyster farmers, filed a complaint against the intercommunal union. She pointed out the contamination of the marine environment by network overflows after heavy rains, blaming the manager.

A report of excesses led the Bordeaux public prosecutor’s office to open an investigation on January 5, for “ecocide” in particular. On January 12, the Arcachon Basin Environmental Coordination, an environmental protection association, filed a complaint against X for pollution, intoxication and endangering others.

The latter believes that “many knew”, since November, that the oysters were contaminated, but would have preferred to turn a blind eye to “save” the oyster farmers’ Christmas. The holiday period represents two thirds of sales for the sector.

The CRCAA announced on Tuesday that it would “initiate an expert summary procedure before the administrative court of Bordeaux” in order to determine responsibilities in the pollution of the waters of the Arcachon basin. “Because, to this day, the question still remains open: who pays the bill? », Launched the CRCAA in a press release on Thursday.