COCKLERS have been praised for being on their best behaviour as town hall bosses hailed the return of the industry to Lytham’s shores.
After a rash of complaints by residents and dozens of RNLI rescues cockling was banned last year – but Fylde Council said one week in there has been no problems.
The North West Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) made the decision to re-open the beds against the council’s wishes, but a high profile operation involving council staff, NWIFCA, the police and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has seen the cockling strictly controlled and hopes are high there will be no repeat of previous trouble.
Fylde Council chief executive Allan Oldfield said: “There have been remarkably few incidents.
“There were chaotic scenes on the foreshore last year but this year all the agencies involved have worked hard to put in place regulations which ensure safety, control and minimum disruption to the local community.
“We have seen little, if any, litter and the cockling merchants have agreed to pay for extra litter bins, toilets and improvements to the slipway.
“Members of the public have contacted the council and other agencies praising the improved arrangements. We always knew the vast majority of those cockle fishing were responsible citizens and are pleased the new permit system has squeezed out the selfish minority.”
St Annes fisherman Paul Sumner echoed Mr Oldfield’s views. He said: “It’s all going very well, everybody is working alongside each other very happily and it’s a very successful fishery.”
NWIFCA has issued the cocklers with “close season” permits, and has limited fishing to one tide a day between Monday and Thursday.
Cocklers are allowed to collect between 750 and 900 tonnes before the fishery is closed again, and so far around 500 tonnes have been harvested.