Deadly sea creatures wash up on Brittany’s beaches

Beachgoers in western France have been warned after potentially deadly Portuguese Man o' War were washed up on the shores of Brittany.

Deadly sea creatures wash up on Brittany’s beaches
File Photo: AFP

The jellyfish-like creatures (which are not actually jellyfish) with purple tentacles have washed up on the beaches in the north of the Finistère department in recent days.

The sea creatures can cause burns, fever, cramps, loss of consciousness, or even heart failure. Local media in Brittany have reported that authorities have banned swimming on certain beaches until they can give the all clear.

This bizarre looking marine animals are usually found in warmer waters, but it is thought they drifted into Brittany’s waters in strong currents.

So far, there have been sightings at the Saint-Laurent beach, the Mazou port at Porspoder, the Porsmeur beach at Plouescat and in the Baie des Trépassés on Cap Sizun.

This is not France’s first invasion of the Portuguese Man-of-War – the marine creatures washed up on shores further south in the Gironde department on the western coast in 2011.

One Cornish beach in the UK also had to be closed this year due to these Portuguese Man o' War appearing on the sand, which experts have called the biggest stranding of the deadly creatures there since 2012.

Anyone who comes into contact with these venomous creatures is advised to seek urgent medical help.

By Anna Schaverien



French town of Nantes votes for referendum on exiting Pays-de-la-Loire region

The French city of Nantes is to hold a referendum on exiting the Pays-de-la-Loire region and becoming part of Brittany instead.

French town of Nantes votes for referendum on exiting Pays-de-la-Loire region
Photo: AFP

On Friday the town council of Nantes voted in favour of requesting the French government organise a referendum so local people can have their say about whether they wish to remain in the Pays-de-la-Loire region or become part of Brittany – a region that many say the town has more historic and cultural connections to.

The vote on Friday was carried by 56 votes and concerns whether the département of Loire-Atlantique – which contains Nantes – should move regions.

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The vote follows a petition in 2018 which gathered 105,000 signatures.

Nantes mayor Johanna Rolland said: “This strong citizen mobilisation cannot be ignored. It reflects the aspiration of our fellow citizens to be consulted to a greater extent, in a context of essential revitalisation of our democracy.”

The desire of people in the Loire-Atlantique to become Breton isn't new.
The départment was part of Brittany until World War II, when it was separated and made part of the neighbouring region by the Vichy government. That region eventually became the Pays-de-la-Loire in 1955.
The issue has been simmering since then and pro-Breton voices have become louder in recent years as they hope to take advantage of a law that allows départments to chose which region they belong to via a referendum.
The town, which is the historic seat of the Dukes of Brittany, also declared its intention to  “set up a permanent pluralist body to engage in a genuine consultation with the State on the organisation of this referendum, organise an in-depth debate on the issues and consequences of a redistribution in order to feed the citizen debate, and formulate proposals to strengthen cooperation between Nantes and the other Breton territories”. 
However the referendum will have to be approved by both the national government and the regional authorities.

France's regions were reorganised in 2016 and several were merged to create the current 13 regions of mainland France.

Brittany currently covers four départements – Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d'Armor, Finistère and Morbihan – while Pays-de-la-Loire covers Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe and Vendée. Nantes is currently the largest town in the region.