Saturday, 7 November 2020

Carrelets

Fishing hut, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Wooden fishing huts perched on piles above the sea along the Charente-Maritime coast are emblematic of this area, many dating from the late 19th century, but the oldest were constructed three centuries ago. They grew in numbers after the First World War, when most people got paid holidays. Some, the older style, are only accessible at low tide, but others have high jetties. If you want to acquire one for your own leisure, it could cost up to €35 000, depending on condition (and they are a lot of work to maintain, with some very strict rules that apply). Owners also pay a monthly fee to the Department of Maritime Affairs of about €400 (pro rata, based on the size of the cabin). There is a waiting list for concessions too, and prospective owners will need to wait for the previous generation to give them up.

Fishing huts, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The name carrelet refers to the square nets used to catch eels, prawns and mullet, which have been used by hand here since the 14th century. So strictly speaking we should talk of 'emplacements de pontons de pêche au carrelet' (square net fishing pontoon places). There are over 500 of these little cabins, sometimes brightly painted and providing a picturesque element in the landscape. They are now officially listed as cultural heritage.

Fishing huts, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The carrelets themselves are a 4 metre by 4 metre frame with a 12 millimetre mesh net. It allows fishermen to return unharmed any fish that are too small. The platforms have been equipped with pulleys and winches since the 19th century to assist with raising the nets.

Fishing hut, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The platforms must not exceed 20 square metres and the cabin must not be bigger than 10 square metres. Although fishing at night is allowed, you cannot sleep overnight in the cabin.

Citroen Traction Avant and Fishing huts, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


Fishing hut, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Fishing hut, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Fishing hut, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.


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4 comments:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Have seen them many times but never seen one pulled up with fish in it.

Susan said...

Could be that night fishing is the way to go. I've never seen any catch either, but they must do so. These pics above are the first time I've seen anyone operating a net too.

chm said...

How do they get the fish out of the net?

Susan said...

Scoop and tip I think. I've never witnessed the process.

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