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The story of oysters in Northern Brittany

 

Oysters in Brittany North, it's a long story. Gourmets did not wait for the nineteenth century to appreciate them.

In Rome already, the oyster had its place in the sumptuous banquets. The Romans imported into the coast of Brittany and the English Channel during the invasions in Gaul. In his book "History of oysters in Brittany", Olivier Levasseur speaks of a "bumpy journey", often punctuated with "serious crises of oysters, caught and grown from the sixth century in the region".

The mollusk will disappear tables in the Middle Ages, especially dethroned by Saint-Jacques shell. Louis XIV will rehabilitate the point to eat every morning. François 1er will dry up praise on the Cancale oysters ... The Breton port will become the capital of the oyster. The culture extends to harbors of Saint-Malo and Saint-Brieuc, the coasts of Treg until the Brest region.

In the eighteenth century, overfishing depletes benches. A royal edict prohibited fishing from April 1 to October 31. At the same time, breeding techniques develop, as the operating tools.

In 1858, a Commissioner of the Navy invented the system of collectors to capture oyster larvae, spat. Its implementation, which starts in Cancale and generalizes on the Brittany coast, gives the kickoff of oyster farming: it is now possible to repopulate and rebuild the benches!

Northern Brittany is essentially flat oyster is cultivated. The Portuguese oyster, more robust and cheaper, is introduced in the region in the mid-nineteenth century. Two animal diseases -the last in the 80- years will attack and put the Breton oyster wrong.

The hollow Japanese oyster, gigas, will allow the regional oyster farming to survive. It is now essential crops: northern Britain produces 26,700 tons of oysters and only 1,500 tons of flat.

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