Un homme et une petite fille ramassent des coquillages dans les rochers sur la plage à marée basseUn homme et une petite fille ramassent des coquillages dans les rochers sur la plage à marée basse
©Pêche à pied|DNT
Foraging for shellfishAn outing by the sea

Foraging for shellfish

What could be more fun than foraging along the coast with your family in the morning, with a bucket in your hand and a small knife in your pocket, and then going home and sitting down to table together to dine on your catch? Here are our tips for a fruitful and safe outing.

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Come on a whim!

Mussels, shrimp, small crabs and more…

The pride of eating what you catch

Come out to the shoals off the Norman coast on spring tide days. Between the hanging valleys of Varengeville-sur-Mer or by the rocks in Pourville-sur-Mer, coastal foraging has become a real tradition. People meet up with family (and kids) or friends for a foraging session in the salty sea air.

As the tide goes out, a vast expanse of sand is uncovered, dotted with rocks on or under which you just might find what you’re looking for. Foraging requires no permit, although there are some rules and regulations you’ll have to follow, mainly to preserve the natural environment and make sure these pleasures remain available to everyone, in the long term.

But don’t worry. You’ll still have enough to get your fill, because the maximum quantity per person and per tide is set at 5 litres, all types of shellfish combined. The best way to make sure you adhere to the allowed sizes is to bring a small ruler with you. Your velvet crabs must not be smaller than 6.5 centimetres, and your mussels cannot be bigger than 4 centimetres. As for shrimp, they must be at least 5 centimetres long, but take note that shrimp fishing season is only from the last Saturday in June to 31 January the following year. So, are you ready to get out your push nets and go down to the shoreline?

Caution, care…

And respect for nature

Check the weather (don’t go foraging when it’s foggy or stormy) and the tide tables. Wrap up your session when the tide begins to rise.

Never walk around at the base of the cliffs. Always keep a distance of at least 100 metres, because there is an average of one rock slide per week here.

Adapt your gear as needed. Always wear shoes, because venomous weevers hide in the sand, and the rocks are slippery.

Bring a watch and a mobile phone, making sure you have a signal on the shore. In case of need, dial 196 for emergencies.

Be respectful of the environment. Put all rocks back in place after turning them over. Limit yourself to the regulatory sizes and quantities.