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    Mussel farming    





    Distant pass    

Mussels were probably sought and eaten by humans since prehistoric times. Considerable mass of millions of empty shells were found on certain coasts of South America. They were left here by the Native Americans who ate them. It seems that the mussel shells which were found in various prehistoric excavation sites were used as early spoons.

Bouchot mussel / Moule de bouchot  

A text published at the end of the sixteenth century tells the story of a shipwrecked Scot, Patrick Walton, who went aground in the bay d’Aiguillon in 1235.

He was rescued by the inhabitants of the region and stayed here. He decided to hunt seabirds for a living as he used to do in his country. He stretched nets along the coast between wooden poles driven into the ground.

Soon, the hunter was surprised to see many little mussels coming onto his poles. They were growing quickly. Thereafter, it became more profitable to capture mussels and fatten them rather than hunt birds. This is the way that bouchot mussels farming would be invented.

This bouchot farming method has performed for a long time on the French Atlantic coast where spat naturally fixes on the poles.


Mytilus edulis
Mytilus edulis

Modern mussel breeding  
After World War 2, people living in the Vivarais area tried different way of mussels breeding (on planks or stones), but the results were not good.

Mussel breeding in the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel was born in 1954, in the Vivier sur mer village. This new activity grew quickly thanks to the good environmental conditions.

Mussel culture on bouchot appeared on the east coast of Contentin peninsula, in Normandy, in 1956. But it is from 1963, on the west coast, that this culture grew rapidly, particularly in the Agon and Pirou areas.

In 30 years, Normandy became the first producing region of bouchot mussels in the world.



  Origin of the word    

The word Bouchot could come from the Scottish words bout choat used by Patrick Walton to name his traps

But the word could have a more credible origin, bouchot being a word in the local dialect to name a submerged trap used to capture eels in the Poitevin swamps. This word probably derives from the French verb "boucher" (obstruct).



A "mussel field" (moulière)