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Aquaculture, Fishing, and Tourism in the Bay of Arcachon



This case study has been identified through the MULTI-FRAME project.

The local economy in the Bay of Arcachon is driven both by aquaculture and tourism. Those two sectors have a complex and often synergetic relationship: Oyster farming constitutes a key touristic attraction, and conversely tourism represents an opportunity for shellfish farmers and fishers to increase their revenues. Aquaculture-related tourism has developed significantly over the last decade, notably through restaurants selling oysters and seafood, as well as or tours around the bay organized by local shellfish farmers taking tourists onboard so they can visit their farm and learn more about the sector. 

This was embodied by an initiative called “Embark with the oyster farmers and fishermen of the Arcachon Basin”, launched by The Intercommunal Association of Arcachon, a public authority representing the municipalities surrounding the bay. It supported oyster farmers and fishermen in implementing and promoting a new touristic offer aimed at discovering oyster production sites and techniques. Aquaculture-based tourism has become a pillar of the ecotourism offer in the area. 

This synergy was made possible by the sharing of common interests and the joint effort of local stakeholders. The Fishing and Marine Breeding Committee and the Shellfish Farming Committee played an important role in representing and assisting oyster producers willing to diversify their activity through tourism. Additionally, as explained previously, the Intercommunal Association of Arcachon helped them to implement and promote a new touristic offer aimed at discovering oyster production sites and techniques. 

Regulatory framework

In terms of regulatory framework, it must be noted that shellfish farmers received technical assistance from the AGLIA (Association of the Great Atlantic Coast), that led an analysis of the legal framework regulating pescatourism, and also assisted oyster producers in the process of obtaining permits and licenses for their activities. 

Lessons learnt

  • Integration between oyster farming, fishing and tourism strengthens the local economy and the regional identity.
  • Aquaculture-based tourism zones can replicate this model and diversify through tourism

Relevant links

This fiche is based on the Ocean Multi-use blueprint collection published by the MULTI-FRAME project.

Access the document here

AGLIA presentation of pescatourism in the Bay of Arcachon 


Elody Etechegaray – Association du Grand Littoral Atlantique: elodie.etchegaray [at] (elodie[dot]etchegaray[at]aglia[dot]fr)