Start of the action : 04/02/2013
Fight won by : Martine
In November 2012, bacteriological pollution of faecal origin was found in the saltwater lake of Hossegor, France. Following an outbreak of food poisoning in the area, water analyses were carried out, which revealed the presence of calicivirus (a virus which can affect both humans and animals). A prefectural byelaw ensued, banning all oyster farming activities at the lake. Although the byelaw was lifted after a few weeks, a health risk remains. The decision to lift the ban constitutes a serious risk to public health, but it is the local economy and dynamics in the area which would suffer the heavy consequences should the oyster farms and surrounding bathing sites have to be closed down.
The heavy rainfall and the gastroenteritis epidemic which simultaneously hit the Landes Region last year points the finger at the surrounding wastewater treatment plants, which tend to be faulty, obsolete, and/or inadequate. In an attempt to validate this hypothesis, samples taken upstream and downstream from these sewage treatment plants revealed the presence of both norovirus and sapovirus. Many oyster farmers had to suspend their operations for several months. Hence, on the 22nd of December 2012, a representative of the Hossegor skilled workers was mandated by the president of the regional committee for shellfish cultivation in Arcachon Aquitaine to file a legal complaint against person unknown at the police station in Seignosse (Landes Region), “for the discharge of substances which are harmful to fish or their food, and for pollution”. Surfrider supported this approach by filing a second complaint against person unknown.
Today, there is scientific evidence for the existence of pollution in the saltwater lake of Hossegor. The SFE Sud-Landes Chapter, represented by Martine, is ready to ensure the mediatisation of this pollution, which represents a high risk to public health, but also to get the stone rolling by entering into dialogue with territorial collectivities, the association of municipalities, and the concerned municipal syndicate. If you are also concerned by the pollution in the saltwater lake of Hossegor, send in your witness reports to the SFE Sud-Landes Chapter.