Salt workers don’t just produce salt: they maintain, renovate and manage a remarkable site and an extraordinary heritage. The aim is to protect this heritage from property development and to manage the number of tourists visiting the area in order to sustain a unique expertise and pass on a natural cultural heritage to future generations: the very basis of sustainable, fair development.
Long before the notion of sustainable development was highlighted by the institutions, the environment has always been a major concern to producers in the LES SALINES DE GUERANDE cooperative, as their work depends on this. A perfect balance between man and nature is essential to the production of a quality salt.
Everyone is involved in environmental preservation including not using weed killers, maintaining water networks in the unexploited parts of the salt marshes and carrying out repair works for future exploitation.
There have also been a number of actions to counter damaging development on the site: motorway bypass projects, tourist developments, filling-in of salt works, constant monitoring of water quality through physical, chemical and bacteriological analysis and, finally, the channelling of tourist flows so that tourism and salt farming can live side by side.
A large number of national and international measures have been taken to protect this heritage. The ecological value of the Guérande site is well known and protected by French and international law: the salt marshes were awarded the “paysage” label in 1992, have been on the RAMSAR list since 1995 and have been a listed site since 1996, the salt marshes' biodiversity was designated as a "protected site" by Natura 2000 in 1992.
The combined efforts of the salt workers in partnership with the nature protection associations make a daily contribution towards protecting a unique site in which the ecosystem is exceptionally rich and biodiversity is not just a word.