20th Anniversary of Morecambe Bay Tragedy

North Western IFCA acknowledges the twentieth anniversary of the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, when 23 Chinese nationals tragically lost their lives whilst fishing in the Bay. We continue to extend our sympathies to all those affected by the tragedy.

Since being established back in 2010, NWIFCA and our partner organisations have worked together closely to improve the conditions for fishers who hand gather cockles and other shellfish in Morecambe Bay and across the wider North West.

A permit regime means the cockle fishery is now a legitimate, fully regulated activity and can only be fished by up to 150 permitted individuals. Acquiring a permit to fish for cockles is predicated on a requirement to attend a maritime safety training course. Furthermore, NWIFCA has worked closely with the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), set up in the aftermath of the 2004 disaster, to establish a separate scheme to protect those in the shellfish gathering industry from exploitation. The GLAA has been central in identifying and eliminating gangmastering from the industry here, and in helping improve working practices for fishers.

NWIFCA remains ever committed to supporting the sustainable hand gathered cockle fishery here in the North West, and this anniversary serves only to remind us of the inherent dangers our stakeholders face when going out to fish in Morecambe Bay and across the wider district. We continue to remember the 23 who lost their lives all those years ago.