of the cockle stocks
To help develop and protect the cockles within the district a series of byelaws were passed which laid down the conditions
by which people could remove cockles in a way that was deemed sustainable. To
this end there are byelaws limiting:
· maximum vessel size
· engine power
· dredge size
· minimum cockle size
· maximum damage rate
· closure of beds/closed
· fishing times and quantities
· additional fishing
The Thames Estuary Cockle Fishery Regulating Order came into operation in 1994 and covers the major section of the
fishery (picture below), only 14 vessels are licensed to fish for cockles within this area.
An important part of management has been policy that closes beds to commercial exploitation once stock levels drop
below set limits.
In addition to local vessels, up to 20 visiting vessels from the Wash and West coast ports have worked the outer areas
not covered by the Regulating Order. Skippers are required to return catch data
showing area fished, quantity taken and fishing time.