The capture of oysters is an activity that involves collecting small oyster larvae in the water at the time of reproduction in July August.
Indeed these larvae seeking an attachment point in order to take shelter from predators and currents. The work of the oyster farmer is then to put a support at sea which will collect the larvae (tubes or plastic cups, tiles).
The oysters do not occur on all French coasts. Indeed it must be very specific conditions: water temperature, plankton, streams ...
The natural breeding area in France is from the Arcachon Bay until coasts of Vendée. This means that all high natural oysters in the Mediterranean coasts and in Normandy were born exclusively in waters of this territory.
Breeding occurs during the summer months. After 6-8 months, the oysters are then sufficiently large (a few mm to 1 cm) to be unbound from their support and installed in plastic bags in order to begin their growth, one by one, in different oyster farms in the country.
It will take about three years for an oyster to be mature. During this period, the oyster farmer will change the bags according oyster growth. He must return the bags to prevent the oysters to be glued together and bring them on different places and in different regions of France (Brittany, Normandy) to optimize the growth. Oysters are re-calibrated regularly as they do not all grow at the same rate even if they are stored in the same conditions.
When oysters reach market size (from No. 5 to No. 1), the oyster farmer can put them in the salt marshes such as we have in Charente Maritime. These finite oysters in the marshes are called Oysters from "claires" which is the name of this marshes. The oysters are then called "fines de claires" or "speciales de claires".
There is also an oyster called "pousse en claires" which remains a minimum of 6 months in a salt marshes with a very low density of oysters. These oysters the particularity have of being fleshy.
The oyster remains fully natural production: They grow in a natural environment without any food intake.
Since more than a century, man seeks to organize the oyster culture, but little work has been mechanized: only the washing and sizing. The set of tasks that characterizes this culture are still very manual and exists since the beginning of oyster farming. This is what gives value to the products: the oysters are a natural product and the oyster farmers always use the same traditional processes.