Are gulls a problem for mussel farming?

©Pauline Loubat/ LPO
© Pauline Loubat/ LPO

Mussel farmers in Boyardville (Ile d’Oleron, France), located inside the Moëze-Oleron’s National Reserve, observe regular losses in their production of which they associate with predation from gulls.

In 2013, dead gulls were illegally killed and hung on stakes in the reserve. In France, all gull species are protected under national law.

LPO, CREAA (Regional Center for Testing and Application in Aquaculture) and farmers decided to collaborate on this sensitive issue to build sustainable solutions, to minimise the harm to these protected species, uphold the policies of the reserve while also sustaining the economic activities.

Several meetings were held to share opinions, to improve the understanding of stakeholder’s activities, and discuss the interest for building a study on Gulls and mussel’s interactions.

With the support from the french MPA Agency, several surveys will be deployed in 2014:

  • Observations of birds’ behavior and distribution in mussel farming areas (LPO)
  • Assessment of the productivity of stakes (with and without protection) (CREAA)

 

Amélie Boué, LPO’s Marine Programme Coordinator

Pauline Loubat, LPO’s Marine Programme Assistant

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