Pilling and Newbiggin Cockle Fisheries Update

In June 2021, NWIFCA officers advised that cockle fisheries in Morecambe Bay should not be opened in 2021. This was in response to concerns of stocks within Morecambe Bay being at their lowest for 5 years and most importantly very sparse juvenile stock in all areas.

The fisheries were discussed at a meeting of the NWIFCA Technical Science and Byelaws (TSB) Committee on 30 June. TSB resolved to permit cockle fisheries on cockle beds at Pilling and Newbiggin sands subject to the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA).

Since the TSB on 30 June an HRA assessing the potential impacts of a cockle fishery at Pilling and Newbiggin has been drafted and has been submitted to Natural England for consideration and for formal advice.

As this is the first year of reduced cockles stock in Morecambe Bay since cockle fisheries reopened in 2016, and due to the adult and juvenile stock composition, the HRA has been escalated to a national team within Natural England for further discussion.

Therefore, no decision on the opening of the Pilling or Newbiggin cockle beds can take place before the 18th August 2021. Once NWIFCA has received formal advice from Natural England, NWIFCA will provide further updates as and when they are available.