Beach foraging: the rules

Planned a day foraging for crustacea and shellfish? What a lovely idea! The Boulonnais coastline is a fantastic place for beach foraging.

However, please be aware that regulations are in place to preserve resources so that everyone can enjoy them. 

Equipment checked, waterproofs checked, boots checked. You're all ready for beach foraging! But before you leave, do you know the rules? It is nothing complicated, but it is important that everyone knows them. Beach foraging for fun is regulated to protect your health as well as the sea's biological resources.

No formality, just respect

Anyone can use a hand-held fishing line to collect crustacea or shellfish by hand, or go hook and line fishing within reasonable limits, of course. The results of your fishing must be for your own consumption and that of your family only. Under no circumstances must it be sold and fishing within 25 metres of an aquaculture area is forbidden,

Crustacea and shellfish

Fishing for shellfish is only allowed in open beds between sunrise and sunset. The beds are frequently opened and closed (possible local bans or restrictions if safety or the conservation of the species so requires). Maximum amounts and minimum sizes must be respected for some species such as mussels and cockles. The minimum size for mussels is 4 cm, for cockles 3 cm, for shrimps 3 cm and prawns 5 cm. Your complete catch must not weigh more than 5 kg. All that you need to get the taste buds going and to enjoy sharing together with the family! 

Equipment and advice

A spoon is all you need for collecting mussels. For cockles, only a three-pronged fork is required and for prawns a hand-held net or landing net. Once collected, the shellfish must be carefully cleaned and eaten as soon as possible. If they need to be kept for a short while, store them in a cool (maximum +4°) and dry place. You are strongly advised to eat shellfish after they have been cooked for an appropriate length of time. This is the only way to guarantee a significant reduction in possible microbiological contamination.

Further information

Fishing with nets or other authorised equipment requires the prior permission of the local maritime authorities. This does not apply to hand-held fishing nets or shrimp nets and fishing baskets or creels, for which no formalities are necessary. All useful information can be found on the prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais’ website: (guide to leisure and watersports)