Ria Etel, Brittany, France

Cross-sectoral (coastal-rural) collaboration to reduce conflict and water pollution

Water Management

A regional example where an initial conflict between stakeholders of coastal and rural area foster collaboration and increase land-sea synergies through a common strategy of communication, information, and good practices.


The river Etel is a “ria” bordering two “pays”, with two territorial plans or SCOTs and three communities of communes. Located on the south coast of Brittany, France, this river basin suffers severe constraints e.g. summer tourism, outlying urban extension linked with the development two urban areas (Lorient and Vannes). Nevertheless, the Etel Ria remains a relatively unspoilt area where, living closely together, one can find active agriculture and important oyster farming. This region shares common characteristics with the COASTAL French case study.


  • Lack of cooperation
  • Stakeholders conflict
  • Water quality


Following local conflicts between farmers and oyster producers regarding water quality issues, a local association (Cap 2000 association) was created with local famers, oyster producers and fishermen to solve conflicts. The association developed a form dialogue between the different sectors and led to finding common solutions regarding water issues, acceptable and beneficial to all stakeholders. This innovative approach based on consultation has so far helped maintain the balance between the various uses of this territory by promoting good practices. The association is in charge of water quality monitoring and results diffusions to local stakeholders, works in cooperation with other professional structures to develop new actions regarding source-pollution identification, communication on local coastal-rural professions and products, better knowledge of natural environment. The association works also in favour of exchange of good practices between stakeholders who share the same issues in the whole Brittany region. Additionally, an agreement has been signed between the agricultural and shellfish regional authorities to ensure the prosperity of both sector and preserve water quality in coastal areas.