Cocklers set to return

Cocklers on the estuary at Lytham
Cocklers on the estuary at Lytham
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COCKLERS are set to get a second shot at fishing the Ribble estuary after a test run was hailed a rousing success.

The cockle beds – accessed from Lytham –were briefly re-opened last month with stringent new conditions in place in a bid to prevent a repeat of last year’s chaos.

And now the North West Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) has decided to allow cocklers back onto the beds for another month.

They will officially re-open on Monday but will close again in mid-October - a move welcomed by Fylde Council.

The council has worked closely with NWIFCA in a bid to ensure the practice runs smoothly, and council chief executive Allan Oldfield said: “Cockling returned for a short period in August and was very successful.

“All agencies have worked closely with NWIFCA to ensure the same licence conditions apply for this second short period of fishing.

“I have always advocated that there will be no winter fishing in the Foulnaze Bed because of the inclement weather and the restricted daylight so the fishing will end in mid October.

“Cockling is a traditional activity on the shore that provides valuable employment for hard-working people – but our experience shows that on the Foulnaze Bed it must be strictly policed to ensure the safety of the fishermen.”

Cockling was banned in November last year after the RNLI received dozens of call-outs because of ill-equipped and inexperienced fishermen heading out into the estuary.

The council was also inundated with complaints from local residents unhappy with the cocklers’ behaviour.

Now parking on residential streets is banned, everyone is checked for permits and fishing is only allowed between Monday and Thursday in daylight hours.

Mr Oldfield added: “We are pleased that NWIFCA has worked closely with all the agencies involved to ensure that only responsible 
fishermen are on the foreshore.

“The fishing in August was a success and with all the cockles being sold to the merchants on the bed and taken to Preston docks a lot of the noise and litter was reduced.”

NWIFCA declined to comment.