The fishing industry and shellfish farming has always been an important source of income for the inhabitants of Zeeland. Fishing is carried out using both towed nets and fixed fishing gear, such as traps to catch eels or lobsters. The oysters and mussels are both released as small shells and grown on parcels.
In many places, large tree branches stand in water, the so-called stakes. You sometimes find them alone, sometimes in groups. If they are neatly placed in a rectangle, they indicate the boundary of the mussel parcels. Each parcel is a kind of field. Shellfish farming is therefore also called wet farming. When they are mixed up, there are traps to catch eels, sea bass, lobsters or other fish. In order to find their own stakes, fishermen adorn their stakes with plastic bags, branches or other decorations.
Fishing weir used for anchovy is a special and old way of fishing that you rarely see. The fish are driven into a ‘cage’ by means of ‘weirs’, or stakes of osier wood placed in a V. The fishermen force the fish into a trap with two man-drawn trawls.
Yerseke is the only mussel auction in the Netherlands. Purchased mussels are deposited on the parcels of the traders in the Kom of Eastern Scheldt (the wet warehouses). This soil is very suitable for getting the mussels sand-free.
From here the mussels go to the processing plants and are prepared for the journey to the mussel-lovers' plate. These are mainly found in Belgium, but also in France and increasingly in the Netherlands.