We followed the St James shell fishermen in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc

France.fr sent photographer Pascale Béroujon on a fishing boat off the Bay of Saint-Brieuc in Brittany. She spent a few hours with the fishermen in the light of day to uncover the harshness of a profession against the glory of the most refined of seafood.

It’s night time in Saint-Quay-Portrieux when we board Jean-Michel Le Hegarat's boat, which is set to fish for the precious St James shell of Saint-Brieuc in Brittany. This type of fishing is highly regulated, authorized for a few hours a day between October and April, and is subject to quotas. A truly precious delicacy!

Towards the deposit

The air is bright and the water is dark at this early hour. We sail towards the most productive natural deposit of St James shells in France, which covers more than 150,000 hectares.

Towards the deposit

The air is bright and the water is dark at this early hour. We sail towards the most productive natural deposit of St James shells in France, which covers more than 150,000 hectares.

Iron mesh

Let the serious business begin! Dredge fishing is very physical and requires fishermen to protect themselves. Harrow and iron mesh sway on deck to the rhythm of the swell... Helmet, gloves and solid boots are required.

Spilled by the hundreds on the deck of the boat, the stars of the bay are patiently measured to ensure that the smallest ones are properly thrown back into the sea. Sustainable fishing is guaranteed and promoted by the Euro-Toques Association, which groups 250 chefs working to preserve culinary know-how.

Precious Shell

Under the serrated shell, the flesh is as delicate and fragile as a young peach. Extracted at a depth of 6 to 8 meters, it is full of omega 3, tasty and healthy!

Back to the port

Back in port, the scallop bunkers will be the focus of attention by chefs and foodies alike who come to honour the queen of the sands of the bay.

We admire, we weigh, and we enjoy ourselves. The exceptional product will soon be found on the best tables in Brittany and elsewhere. As in the restaurant Aux Pesked in Saint-Brieuc, where Michelin starred chef Mathieu Aumont will prepare the precious shell by revisiting the tradition.

Nature

Seasoning is superfluous to fully enjoy the delicacy of the fruit just out of the water. Ultra fresh!

Nature

Seasoning is superfluous to fully enjoy the delicacy of the fruit just out of the water. Ultra fresh!

The first edition of La Semaine de la coquille Saint-Jacques brought together more than 230 restaurants throughout France in October 2017, which highlighted this delicate à la carte experience. From Paimpol to Fréhel in the Côtes d'Armor, the Bay de Saint-Brieuc is distinguished by its preserved and accessible natural landscapes.