The improvement in the sanitary quality of the waters in the Thau lagoon has led the Hérault prefecture to lift the ban on fishing and the sale of shellfish in a large part of the basin. The ban had been in place since January 10 due to the discovery of E.Coli bacteria.
However, the western part (Marseillan-Mèze area, 34.39.02) still has an excess of the bacteria, exceeding the thresholds, which means that the ban is still in place for the producers in that area.
Shellfish from other production areas including the Bouzigues-Loupian area have been given the green light.
The fines and punishment for selling contaminated oysters are appropriately severe. Producers can be jailed for seven years, fined up to €750,000, and their activities permanently suspended.
A ban is economic disaster for this area, where 550 farms, most of them family-run, produce 12,000 tonnes of oysters and 6,000 tonnes of mussels each year.
You can check on this map for a real-time catalogue of the health of the water, and if there is a ban in place.
Source: France 3, 20 Minutes, Midi Libre