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Dee Estuary Cockle Fishers Certified as Sustainable

06 July 2012

UK - The Dee Estuary cockle fishery has been MSC certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery following a 10 month independent assessment.

The auditors described the fishery as: “…a well-managed, small and discrete fishery with low environmental impact.” They also noted the fishery’s management techniques to ensure that enough cockles are left to provide food for the region’s distinctive oystercatchers – part of ensuring that the fishery does not have an adverse effect on the environment.

Through careful regulation, Environment Agency Wales ensures that the fishery can continue to provide a sustainable livelihood for the 50 licensed cockle pickers who must adhere to strict operating procedures. The pickers can gather up to 300kg of cockles every day making the fishery economically viable and environmentally sustainable and stabilising the cockle population in the Dee Estuary.

Rick Prichard, Environment Agency Wales said: “The Dee Estuary cockle fishery plays a vital role in boosting the local economy and providing employment to local fishermen. Obtaining this certificate acknowledges the work the Agency has done in introducing a licensing system that maintains cockle pickers’ livelihoods and ensures that cockles are gathered sustainably without damaging the environment.”

Claire Pescod, Fisheries Outreach Manager for the MSC, says: “This certification of the Dee Estuary cockle fishery is a great example of how good fishery management can bring about real environmental and economic benefits. By recognising the need for a limit on fishing effort – and thus the number of licenses – in a way that protects cockle pickers’ livelihoods and the local oyster catchers, Environment Agency Wales has turned a boom-and-bust fishery into one that is well managed and sustainable. That’s great news for the fishery, for the local area and for cockle lovers everywhere.”

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