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Cordouan's rocky intertidal zone provides a rich habitat for many plant and animal species. 

Biodiversity on the Cordouan plateau

A rich habitat

Several studies have identified some 70 species of seaweed and more than 230 animal species (molluscs, gastropods, sponges, crustaceans, etc.).

SMIDDEST (Syndicat mixte pour le développement durable de l'estuaire), the authority responsible for the sustainable development of the estuary and for managing the Cordouan lighthouse, is committed to the sustainable management of the Cordouan intertidal zone and the activities that it supports. Therefore the authority coordinates the following initiatives:

  • Studies on habitat conservation status and identification of any problems
  • Information and awareness campaigns on responsible shellfish gathering
  • Setting facilities in place to help visitors to get acquainted with and enjoy the intertidal zone and its biodiversity

Between 2010 and 2012, SMIDDEST called on the services of the IODDE association to gather information on the site's biodiversity and the shellfish gathering practised there. The findings of these studies demonstrated the ecological richness of the intertidal zone. It also found, however, that shellfish gatherers were not adequately informed of the regulations in force, particularly as regards crab fishing: over two thirds of the crabs caught were below regulation size.

SMIDDEST therefore initiated campaigns to raise awareness about this specific issue among shellfish gatherers, and thus safeguard the species in the long term. In 2015, IODDE was again called upon to update current knowledge and establish a monitoring process.
To ensure that the Cordouan plateau remains an outstanding example in terms of biodiversity, it is important to follow certain rules:
  • Limit your catch
  • Abide by regulation landing sizes
  • Return any stones that you have moved to their original position
  • Leave no litter

Some of the species to be found in the intertidal zone