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 ADAM : (Association pour le Développement de l'Aquaculture en Martinique).
Association for the development of aquaculture in Martinique.

 Adepam : (Association pour la DÉfense des Producteurs Aquacoles Martiniquais).
Association for the defence of aquacultural producers in Martinique. This association accompanies new developers and provides training for people in the aquaculture industry.

 Affinage (fr) : Technique of improving oyster quality just before sale (level of fattening, taste and colour). When the diatom Haslea ostrearia (navicule bleue) is present in the “claires” (oyster ponds) the gills take on a characteristic green colour due to the concentration of the pigment called “marennine”.

 A.O.C. : (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). Label used when the use of the name of the place of production is regulated.

 Amphibious : Capable of living or moving in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. The amphibious boats used in baie du Mont St Michel have wheels allowing them to roll over the sandy shore to get to the water.

  Amphihaline   : Adjective describing species in which a part of the life cycle is completed at sea and another part in the fresh water area of a river.

  Anoxic :  Conditions without oxygen. In an anoxic environment, it is impossible to maintain aerobic respiration and only organisms with alternative forms of metabolism (fermentation, anaerobic respiration, sulphate reduction, bacterial photosynthesis, etc.) can survive.

  Aquaculture   : All activities of animal rearing and plant culture in inland fresh water or marine sites. The previously used term ‘aquiculture’ should be considered as a disused synonym. The term ‘algaculture’ specifically refers to the culture of seaweeds and other algae.

In French, the following terms also exist for the culture of different species or groups of species:

  • Algoculture: algae
  • Anguilliculture: eels
  • Astaciculture: crayfish
  • Crevetticulture: shrimp/prawns
  • Chevretticulture: fresh water shrimp ( Macrobrachium)
  • Conchyliculture: molluscan shellfish. This term covers:
    • Cerastoculture : cockles
    • Mytiliculture: mussels
    • Ostréiculture: oysters
    • Pectiniculture: scallops and other pectinidae
    • Vénériculture: clams
  • Paeneiculture: Penaeid shrimps (including tiger prawns and pink shrimp)
  • Perliculture: Pearl oyster ( Pinctada margaritifera), producing black pearls (Polynesia)
  • Salmoniculture : Salmon and trout
  • T ruiticulture: trout

 Aquaculture sector : All activities relating to aquacultural production, including all stages from the breeding or capture of juveniles to the sale of the fresh or processed product

 Aquamay : (Association pour le Développement de l'Aquaculture à Mayotte).
Association for the development of aquaculture on Mayotte.

 ARDA : (Association Réunionnaise pour le Développement de l'Aquaculture).
Reunion island association for the development of aquaculture.

 Artemia : Tiny crustacean of the branchiopod group, lives in hypersaline conditions. Its eggs are resistant to desiccation.


 Bioethics : The part of ethics relevant to life science research and the use of living things.

 Biology : The life sciences.

   Biosafety: Action to secure with respect to the disturbances being able to affect the physiology of the living beings

 Biovigilance (fr) : State of alert concerning the protection of living things.

 Bouchot (fr) : A line of wooden posts used to grow mussels on the Atlantic and Channel coasts of France. The oak posts are driven into the ground on the lower shore

 Byssus : (or Beard) Bundle of filaments secreted by certain molluscan shellfish (e.g. mussels) in order to attach, temporarily or permanently, to a substrate.


 Captage (fr) : Collection of juvenile shellfish on artificial structures called ‘spat collectors’.

 Carpogonium : Female organ in algae, includes the female gamete or “oosphere” and the trichogyne : a long filament that guides the male gamete towards the oosphere.

 Carpospore : Single diploid protoplast stage in the developmental cycle of red algae (Rhodophyta). This cycle is trigenetic, meaning that there are 3 successive, cellularly different generations. A haploid thallus (the gametophyte) produces gametes, which once fertilised produce a carposporophyte. The carposporophyte forms carpospores, which are released into the environment where they develop into tetrasporophytes. After reduction division, the tetrasporophytes produce tetraspores that germinate to give a gametophyte once more.

 Chromosome : Cellular component carrying heritable characters (genes). In eukaryotes, most cells contain an even number of chromosomes (diploid cells have 2n chromosomes) apart from the sexual cells, which are haploid (with half the diploid number: n). One can nonetheless find individuals in nature with 3n or 4n chromosomes (triploids and tetraploids).

 Claire (fr) : Shallow pond dug in clay soil areas on the coast and used for ‘affinage’ (finishing stage) and stocking of oysters. Also sometimes used for rearing clams. ‘Claires’ were often formerly salt pans.

 CIPA : (Comité Interprofessionnel des Produits de l'Aquaculture).
Inter-professional committee for aquacultural products.

 CLPMEM : (Comité Local des Pêches Maritimes et des Élevages Marins).
Local Marine fisheries and aquaculture committee.

 CNC : (Comité National de la Conchyliculture).
National shellfish farming committee.

 Conchospore : Porphyra equivalent to a tetraspore.

 CREAA : (Centre Régional d'Expérimentation et d'Application Aquacole).
Regional centre for aquacultural experimentation and application.


 De-bearding : Removal of the byssus (or “beard”) from mussels.

 Dégrappage (fr) : Removal or fall of bunches of mussels from poles during ‘bouchot’ culture.

 Désatroquage (fr) : Action of separating oysters that are stuck to one another. Mostly used in Arcachon, but also in Quebec.

 Détroquage (fr) : Action of separating oysters from a substrate on which they have settled and fixed themselves.

 Dietary mineral : Metal or metalloid present at trace levels in living tissues and essential for their metabolism.

 Diploid : Organism with two sets of chromosomes (2n) except in the sex cells. Diploidy is the most common cellular condition.

 Distiller's spent grain: 

  D.P.M.   : (Domaine Public Maritime). In France, land that becomes covered by the sea is supposed to be public property. Such areas are thus managed by the state and cannot be sold or given to individuals, or even local communities (this ruling dates back to the 16th century). However, this does not mean that the land cannot be leased, a procedure which means fees must be paid and certain rules be adhered to.

 DPMA : (Direction des Pêches Maritimes et de l'Aquaculture).
Direction of maritime fisheries and aquaculture. Department of the French ministry of agriculture and fisheries.

 Dredging : To collect sediments and/or organisms underwater from the sea bottom by dragging a dredge from a vessel.


 Extrusion : Process of transformation of food: the matter is subjected during a very short time (20 to 60 S) to high temperatures (100 to 200°C), to strong pressures (50 to 150 bars), and to a very intense shearing.


 Fatty Acid : Lipid made up of a hydrocarbon chain of variable length with a carboxyl group (-COOH) at one end, and a methyl group at the other. Saturated fatty acids and mono or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are classified according to the presence or absence of double bonds between carbon atoms within the molecule. The essential fatty acids known as “Omega 3s” are polyunsaturated with 3 to 6 double bonds, the first of these being in the 3rd position from the end of the molecule.

 Fillet Yield : Percentage of flesh obtained by making filets, relative to total fish weight.


 Gamete : Reproductive cell of a living organism, male or female.

 Gametophyte : Haploid stage in reproduction of plants or algae with alternate generations.

 Gene : Basic heritable genetic unit, contained in the chromosomes.

 Genetics : Science that studies questions concerning the transmission of characteristics among living things, from parents to their descendants.

 Genitor : Adult animal used for reproduction.

 GMO : Genetically modified organism. GMOs are obtained by transgenesis. This technique consists of transferring genes from one species to another or from one place to another within the same organism and making sure that these genes are expressed in their new environment. This method allows new characters that cannot be bred into commercial species by using crosses, to be introduced into these organisms. Notable examples are the maize made resistant to European corn borer – a parasitic insect – or plants made resistant to herbicides (information from INRA).

 Grading : Sorting using a scale of size or weight.

 Graft : (In pearl oysters) Action of introducing a graft, a piece of mantle tissue from a donor pearl oyster chosen for its colour, and a nucleus as a substrate for pearl growth (a sphere of natural or artificial material) into the gonad. This is a delicate operation, conducted by a skilled expert.

 Gonochoric : Describes species with separate sexes, as opposed to hermaphrodites.


 Haploid : Describes nuclei that contain, after reduction division, a single set of chromosomes (sexual cells with n chromosomes).

 Hatchery : Aquacultural establishment where reproduction and the first stages of rearing are performed (spat in the case of oysters and fry in the case of fish).

 Hermaphrodite : Describes a species where the gonads (genital glands) of both sexes are present in the same individual. The maturity of the two types of gonads can be simultaneous or sequential.

  Hybridisation   : Fertilisation of a female parent by a male from a different species.

 Hydraulic : Relating to water, worked by water or by energy created by moving water.


 Indigenous  : Native to a country or area.

 INRA : (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique).
French National Institute for Agricultural Research.

 Insemination : To artificially fertilise a female.

 Intertidal zone : Area of the coast alternately covered and exposed by the tide.


 Juvenile : Stage in the life of a young organism before it becomes an adult.


  Krill : Generic name, of Norwegian origin, used to indicate planktonic shellfish species of the family of Euphausiacea and more specifically the species: Euphausia superba. These crustaceans have the appearance of small shrimps being able to reach 5 cm, whose body does not have dorsal curve and having rather important black eyes. These pelagic species which pullulate in the Antarctic Ocean constitute the dominating share of the food of the cetaceans with whalebones (Mysticeti) like the great rorquals and whales. They also exist in the Arctic. They are the subject of special fishing, in particular in Norway, for the manufacture of meal rich in proteins, or for the food of farmed Salmonidae. (traduced from Envlit web site - François Cabanne) 


 Laitance (fr) : Mass of genital products. Used to refer to the ripe gonads of oysters during their reproductive period (“huitres en lait” or “laiteuses”) or to fish sperm (see Milt).

 Larva : Life stage between the egg and the transformation to the juvenile/ adult phase via metamorphosis. Present in several parts of the animal kingdom.

 Longline shellfish rearing : This kind of shellfish farming is done below low tide sea level on French Atlantic coasts.


 Market size : Minimum size which an organism of a particular species must reach before it can be legally sold.

 Maturation : Processes of development of the gonads prior to reproduction.

 Metamorphosis : A term for all of the changes associated with the transformation into a juvenile/adult for certain animal phyla. These changes involve both the animal’s form and its physiology, and are often accompanied by a change in habitat.

 Micrometer (µm): Thousandth of a millimetre.

 Milt : Mature male gametes in fish.

 Monoculture : Rearing of a single species at a time.

   Months with the letter R  : Period of months from September to April, said to be best for eating oysters, as opposed to the months without an R from May to August, when one used not to eat oysters because they did not travel well in hot weather. Refrigerated transportation has made this notion obsolete.

 Mytiliculture (fr) : Mussel farming


 Nauplius : First larval stage of many crustaceans (plural : nauplii)

 Nursery : Protected rearing environment for growing young animals after metamorphosis in the hatchery and before transfer to the outside environment


 Ofimer : (Office national interprofessionnel des produits de la mer et de l'aquaculture)
National inter-profession office for sea products and aquaculture

      Oligotrophic   : Describes an environment, or a body of water, with a low level of nutritive (nutrient) elements.

 Omega 3 : Long chained fatty-acids (starting from 18 carbons) poly insaturated (at least 2 double connections); series n-3 (first double connection located on the 3rd carbon); EPA (acid eicosapentaenoïc), DHA (acid docosahexanoenoïc). One of their precursor is the linolenic acid (C18: 3, n-3).

 Ostréiculture (fr) : Oyster farming.


   Para-pharmaceutical  : A cake of live phytoplankton concentrate.

 Pâton (fr) : A cake of live phytoplankton concentrate.

 Pectiniculture (fr) : Farming of scallops and other Pectinidae.

 Pertuis charentais : Charente straits, narrow straits between the islands and mainland on the Charente Atlantic coast in France.

 Photoperiod : Length of the period of natural or artificial light, considered from the point of view of biological phenomena associated with light.

 Phycocolloid : A colloid from algae (a colloid is a substance made up of micro-particles dispersed in a liquid).

 Phylogenetic : Characterising the evolutionary history of groups of living organisms, as opposed to “ontogenic”, which characterises the development of an individual.

 Phytases : Enzymes implied in the hydrolysis of the phytates (involving the dephosphorylation of those)

 Phytate : Substances of phosphorus reserve which may be found in seeds of the plants and good number of roots and tubers (Dipak and Mukherjee, 1986).

 Phytoplankton : Unicellular algae living in suspension in a mass of water.

 Polyploid : Having several sets of chromosomes per cell (3n for triploids, 4n for tetraploids).

 Polyploidisation : Fertilisation technique leading to a polyploid organism.

 Portion size : Size of an organism, suitable for consumption by one person; generally used to refer to fish and crustaceans.

 Post-larva : Stage immediately following the larval stage and sharing some characteristics with a juvenile.

 Probiotic : Dietary supplements including bacteria, yeast or algae, which help with the digestion of fibres, stimulate the immune system and prevent or treat gastro-enteritis.

 Propagation by cuttings : Method of propagation used to grow a new plant from a piece of another one.



 Raceway : Rearing tank in the form of a circuit for growing animals in a hatchery.

   Recruitment  :  Process of integration of a new generation into the overall population. Can refer to this class of young itself.

 REGEMO : (REseau GEnétique Mollusques).
Mollusc genetics network. Network for field experimentation using selected lines produced in experimental hatcheries.

 Repopulation : Action of releasing a large number of hatchery-produced organisms into the natural environment, with the objective of rebuilding depleted stocks.

 Restricted area : A protected area used to preserve a species of economic interest.

 Rotifer : Zooplanktonic animal that serves as food (live prey) for fish larvae. A rotifer is shaped like a bag surrounded by a circle of ciliated tufts.


 Seapura : European project. See 

 SECODIP (TNS Worlpanel) : (Société d'Etudes de la COnsommation, de la DIstribution et de la Publicité). Company for the study of consummation, distribution and advertising. The name was changed in TNS Worldpanel (January2006)

 Sedentary : Describes an organism that moves little and remains in its habitat.

 Shellfish Bed :  Natural area where molluscan shellfish grow in the wild. Rules have been set out for exploitation of such natural beds by fisheries.

 SMIDAP : (Syndicat Mixte pour le Développement de l'Aquaculture et de la Pêche des Pays de Loire).Public office for the development of aquaculture and fisheries in Pays de Loire.

Organisational office: Hôtel de la région - 1, rue de la Loire - 44066 NANTES CEDEX 02
Tel : 02 40 41 40 50 - Fax : 02 40 41 62 22

Technical office: 3, rue Celestin Freinet - Bat. B Sud - 44200 NANTES
Tel : 02 40 89 61 37 - Fax : 02 40 89 61 47 - Email 

 Sowing : When molluscan shellfish are spread directly on the seabed.

 Spat : Term for juvenile shellfish recently settled on a substrate following the end of their planktonic larval life stage (plural may be spat or spats).

 Spat collector : Structure placed by shellfish farmers to allow settlement of mollusc larvae. A collector may be made of a number of different materials such as : empty shells, tiles, plastic tubes, etc.

   Spermatium   : Non motile male gamete.

  Spirulina : ( Arthrospira platensis): Cyanobactery or “blue alga” which develops in the salted and alkaline lakes of the hot areas. It has a thallus having the form of a small spring from 0,2 to 0,3 mm length, rich in proteins (60 to 70% of its dry weight) and in essential amino-acids, it is produced in algoculture . 

 Spore : Uni- or Multi- cellular body in algae and fungi, which can give rise, without fertilisation, to a new individual.

 Sterile : Describes an organism with no development of reproductive organs.

 Strand : Group of threads forming part of a rope or line.

 Sub-tidal : Below the level of the lowest tides, as opposed to intertidal.

 Swim bladder : Organ filled with a gas mixture rich in oxygen, giving bony fishes stability in water. This organ is linked to the oesophagus. Cartilaginous fishes (like selacians: the group including rays and sharks) do not have swim bladders.


 Tetraspore : See carpospore.

 Thallus : Vegetative body of lower plants.

   Traceability   :   Capacity to trace all the steps in production in the past of an animal or product, from the start of rearing to its purchase by the consumer.

 Transgenesis : Technique that enables the transfer of genes from one species to another or from one place to another within the same organism and ensuring that hese genes will be expressed in their new position (information from INRA).

 Triploid : State of having 3 sets of chromosomes.

 Trophic : Relating to the nutrition of organs and tissues.


 Unicellular : Consisting of a single cell. Organisms like phytoplankton and bacteria are unicellular organisms.

 Use  conflict : A conflict between different users of the same environment, likely to have competing or opposing interests.


 Vitamin : Substance needed in very low quantities for the development of the body and its vital functions.


 Weaning : Action of stopping nutrition with one type of food and changing to another.




 Zooplankton : Microscopic animals living in suspension in a body of water.

 Zoosanitary : Involving the health of animals.

 Zootechnical : Describes the technical and husbandry skills needed successfully rear animals.


This glossary covers the definitions of words marked in green on the Aquaculture web site. The main information sources were:

J.C. Quero et J.J. Vayne : « Les poissons de mer des pêches françaises ». Delachaux et Niestlé, 1997 et « Les fruits de la mer et plantes marines des pêches françaises ». Delachaux et Niestlé, 1998.

L'ouvrage de Louis Marteil et al. "La conchyliculture française" Revue des travaux de l'Institut des pêches maritimes, en trois volumes : vol. 38, n° 3, 1974, vol. 40, n° 2, 1976, vol. 43, n° 1, 1979.

The Envlit site glossary (French), for a number of common definitions, sometimes modified or extended according to the context of the reference pages.(These definitions are in italic)