National Geographic : 1913 Mar
THE OYSTER FLEET AT CANCALE, FRANCE Cancale is situated in Brittany, not far from St. Malo. During the summer months it is frequented for sea bathing; but the wealth of the little town depends upon its oysters, for which it is famous. ural enemies or from suffocation by mud, sand, or silt. For two to three years the oysters are thus protected, re quiring frequent overhauling, thinning out, and transfer to other parcs or bas kets as their size increases, this part of the work also being done by women, clad in short skirts and having heavy, square shoes on their bare feet. An other phase of cultivation is the placing of the oysters, now of marketable size, in special enclosures or claires where there is an abundance of food, so that they may become fat and plump before sale and also acquire the condition of greenness that the trade requires. Green oysters in America are often regarded as diseased or unwholesome, and our oyster-growers strive to prevent their occurrence; but green oysters in France are in greatest demand. Ma rennes has long been celebrated for its oysters of a green or bluish-green color, and special efforts are there put forth to make the oysters take on the maximum intensity of color in the shortest time. The claires at Marennes swarm with the minute plants, whose color is imparted to the gills and mantle when the oysters consume them in excessive quantities. Marennes oysters command the highest price in the market because of their ex quisite and inimitable flavor, which con noisseurs say is dependent on their green color. French oyster-growers in 1907 pro duced upwards of 1,450,000,000 oysters, having a market value of 34 million dollars. In addition, there was a small product taken from bottoms laid bare at low tide, which were not under culti vation, and from deep-water public grounds. Over 22,000 men, women, and children were engaged in gathering such oysters, and their aggregate take was about 175 million oysters, for which they received less than one-tenth of a cent apiece, whereas the cultivated oysters brought nearly three times as much.