Oleron's fish locks are listed. Presented in the form of a semicircular low wall made of not cemented stones and advanced in the ocean, the locks are entirely covered with water at high tide, making it possible for fish to enter there. When the sea goes down, water runs out through grids, retaining fish captive.
Before being linked to the mainland, life on the island was quite harsh for its population. They were either farmers or fishermen with low incomes and had to find a solution to make ends meet. Fishing within the locks was hard work, but it paid : sole, seabass, mullet, whiting, squid, garfish, conger, skate and sea bream were regulars in the locks. Shellfish such as oysters and mussels grow on the walls built in ‘dry-walling' technique (without cement).
They are part of Oleron's architectural, social, cultural and environmental heritage, as they constitute a natural reserve for wildlife and shelter for dunes.
In spite of their visible solidity, these buildings are very fragile, and the lack of maintenance, the wear of the swell and the human damages destroyed number of locks. As a visitor, do not move stones, or even shells that form a real natural cement.
Fishing is prohibited :
- within the locks;
- on the walls;
- less than 25 meters around the walls;
- nets less than 50 meters around the walls;
- damaging is strictly forbidden.
Under penality of pursuits
Decree N°2000-272 of 22 march 2000