THE MARSHES' LIFE... IN WINTER

26 février 2018,

What happens in Guérande in mid-February? 

This winter was soft and gave the opportunity to the salt workers to carry out maintenance work like cleaning canals and mudflats: these collective works consist in removing the vegetation and shovel hydraulic circuits from canals.

 

Parcels are still drowned. They were put under water during winter in order to keep vegetation from growing, wavelets from undermining bridges and frost from denaturing clays.

 

In February - March there are more collaborative works and then, step by step, salt workers empty salt works to clean the first parts by taking off mud and algae. Then, comes the time of the eyelets…

 

Winter is also often the chosen time to rehabilitate some abandoned salt works. Indeed, in 1870, 700 salt workers worked on 17 000 eyelets but in the 70’s, the activity highly dropped because of the industrial salt’s concurrency, St-Nazaire’s shipyards, and tourism’s development. Since 1980, a traineeship has been set up in order to promote the return of salt workers in the salt marshes. Nowadays, 13 000 eyelets are working again on an estimated potential of 15 000.

 

The first algae harvests for Guérande Cosmetics begin in April. Indeed, their development depends on the water’s salinity level: for instance, this level must stay low for Green Limu which is developed at the beginning of the season. As for the Dunaliella, the salinity level must be high so this algae’s is developed at the end of the season.

 

2018’s campaign begins now and will end during salt’s harvesting between June and September !

 

A salt worker’s rhythm is intimately linked to his environment: as his salt works are put to sleep, in winter his physical activity is slowed down and here comes the time to resume his outdoor activity which is so dear to him …

 

 

Olivier L., salt worker, 

 

 

 

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