Current distribution of the residual flat oysters beds (Ostrea edulis) along the west coast of France

The flat oyster Ostrea edulis is a European native species that once covered vast areas in the North Sea, on the Atlantic coast and in other European coastal waters including the Mediterranean region. All these populations have been heavily fished by dredging over the last three centuries. More recently, the emergence of parasites combined with the proliferation of various predators and many human-induced additional stressors have caused a dramatic decrease in the last remaining flat oyster populations. Today, this species has disappeared from many locations in Europe and is registered on the OSPAR (Oslo-Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine environment of the North-East Atlantic) list of threatened and/or declining species (see

In that context, since 2018, the Flat Oyster REcoVERy project (FOREVER) has been promoting the reestablishment of native oysters in Brittany (France). This multi-partner project, involving the CRC (Comité Régional de la Conchyliculture), IFREMER (Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer), ESITC (École Supérieure d’Ingénieurs des Travaux de la Construction) Caen and Cochet Environnement, has consisted of (1) inventorying and evaluating the status of the main wild flat oyster populations across Brittany, (2) making detailed analysis of the two largest oyster beds in the bays of Brest and Quiberon to improve understanding of flat oyster ecology and recruitment variability and to suggest possible ways of improving recruitment, and (3) proposing practical measures for the management of wild beds in partnership with members of the shellfish industry and marine managers. the final report of this project is available on Archimer :

This survey is part of the task 1 of the FOREVER, which took place between 2017-2021. Some previous data, acquired with the same methodology and within the same geographic area have been also added to this dataset. These data were collected during 30 intertidal and diving surveys in various bays and inlets of the coast of Bretagne. The localization of these surveys has been guided by the help of historical maps. In the field, the methodology was simple enough to be easily implemented regardless of the configuration of the sampled site. The intertidal survey was conducted at very low tide (tidal range > 100) to sample the 0-1m level. Sampling was carried out randomly or systematically following the low water line. Where possible (in terms of visibility and accessibility), dive surveys were also carried out (0-10m depth), along 100m transects, using the same methodology of counting in a 1m2 quadrat. As often as possible, geo-referenced photographs were taken to show the appearance, density and habitat where Ostrea edulis was present. All these pictures are available in the image bank file.

Overall, this dataset contains a total of 300 georeferenced records, where flat oysters have been observed. The dataset file contains also information concerning the surrounding habitat description and is organized according the OSPAR recommendations. This publication gives also a map, under a kml format showing each occurrence and its characteristics.

This work was done in the framework of the following research project: " Inventaire, diagnostic écologique et restauration des principaux bancs d’huitres plates en Bretagne : le projet FOREVER. Contrat FEAMP 17/2215675".


Fisheries and aquaculture, Biological oceanography, Environment


Flat oyster beds, OSPAR marine habitat, Ostrea edulis, French coast


49.188105N, 46.701384S, -1.274414E, -5.427246W


Images bank
357 MoIMAGERaw data
Forever data
868 KoXLS, XLSXQuality controlled data
KML file
1 MoKMLQuality controlled data
How to cite
Pouvreau Stephane, Cochet Hélène, Bargat Florian, Petton Sebastien, Le Roy Valerian, Guillet Theo, Potet Marine (2021). Current distribution of the residual flat oysters beds (Ostrea edulis) along the west coast of France. SEANOE.
In addition to properly cite this dataset, it would be appreciated that the following work(s) be cited too, when using this dataset in a publication :
Pouvreau Stephane, Cochet Hélène, Fabien Aurélie, Arzul Isabelle, Lapegue Sylvie, Gachelin Sonia, Salaun Benoit (2021). Flat Oyster RecoVERy in France (FOREVER) : the final report = Inventaire, diagnostic écologique et restauration des principaux bancs d’huitres plates en Bretagne : le projet FOREVER. Ref. Rapport final. Contrat FEAMP 17/2215675. Ifremer.

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