The Arguin sandbank

Facing the great dune, sandbanks emerge from the ocean, their ever-changing outlines sculpted by winds and tide.

Since 1972, these fragile and precious sanctuaries and the surrounding sea areas have been designated the Banc d'Arguin National Nature Reserve. The Banc d'Arguin is made up of several uninhabited islands and is mainly used as a resting and staging area for many species of marine and coastal birds (oystercatchers, dunlins, etc.).

Every spring since 1966 has seen the arrival of thousands of sandwich Terns to this site, making it internationally important for the conservation of the species.  In some years, more than half the French breeding population, 2000 to 3000 pairs, raise their chicks shielded from terrestrial predators. Why in Arguin? This is mainly because of the abundance of anchovy and sardine available at that time, and much-loved by the birds. (Terns can fish within a radius of 70 km around the colony).

The nature reserve is accessible only by boat and is managed on behalf of the French State by SEPANSO, the environmental and regional protection association who established it.
Its guards ensure compliance with regulations and peacefulness of birds throughout the year. 


​Contact SEPANSO  ( for more information.  (Study South west Society for the Protection and Development of Nature).