History

From the very beginning

From the very beginning, the sea has been the focus of Lorient’s main activities and the special pathway that connects it to the world. Lorient’s natural harbour has been hosting a whole range of maritime activities for more than 2,000 years: fishing, garum salting carried out by the Veneti of Amorica, coastal trading in the middle ages until it gained a foothold in the international arena in the 18th and 19th century with the East India Companies and the Royal Navy dockyard. The industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century also boosted maritime trade with the exchanges between Welsh coal and Breton mine posts, before the new industrial fishing port in Keroman increased fishing activity to exceptional levels. The submarine base, built in 3 years by the Germans, became an element of immense strategic importance in the Second World War. Its presence led to the near total destruction of the town in 1945. Taken over by the French Navy in 1945, it took on a new purpose when it was converted to a centre for ocean racing, after the dissolution of the Atlantic Submarine squadron in 1995.

A land of shipyards, a land of high-sea fishing, and a land marked by the presence of the French Navy, the Pays de Lorient area has undergone a sea change in its maritime economic pillars over that last 17 years. Conversion, restructuring, modernisation and innovation are now the characteristics of Lorient’s maritime landscape.

The changes in the players and the emergence of new sectors of activity (marine energy, sustainable fishing, ocean racing, etc.) require the area to maintain a permanent capacity of adaptation in a restricted, sensitive and regulated area.

All the investment undertaken to support the changes in maritime activities (oil pier, ship repair area, left bank of the Scorff river, fish auctions, fish loading bays, dry dock, marinas, etc.) should allow Lorient to maintain its varied port capital which is unique in Brittany.

But in addition to the investment that has been made and which will be made in the future, we must take account of a key factor “the acceptance” by the people of their ports.

Developing the points of convergence, of mediation, of knowledge and of space sharing between the ports and the town is also a guarantee of success which makes it possible and will make it possible to maintain the Pays de Lorient area’s maritime identity.

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