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This month's cockling in Lytham has been hailed as an “orderly success” by Fylde Council.
All the public agencies have worked together to enforce working hours and licence conditions – resulting in minimal inconvenience for residents and maximum safety for the fishermen.
The cocklers have been issued "closed season” permits under strict regulations by the North West Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) that allow between 750 to 900 tonnes of cockles to be taken before the fishery closes again. The total taken by the end of today (Wednesday) is expected to be approximately 500 tonnes.
Allan Oldfield, Fylde Council Chief Executive, said: "Five hundred tonnes so far is good progress but we can't be drawn on when the current closed-season permit will end – there are simply too many imponderables such as tides and weather.
"What I can say is that there have been remarkably few incidents. There were chaotic scenes on the foreshore last year but this year all the agencies involved have worked hard to put in place regulations that ensure safety, control and minimum disruption to the local community.
"The closed-season permit system has been a great success with all cockles sold at sea to merchants who unload at Preston docks – minimising litter and nuisance at Lytham. Agency staff caught some fishermen trying to bring cockles to the shore and put a stop to it.
"We have seen little, if any, litter and the cockling merchants have agreed to pay for extra litter bins, toilets and improvements to the slipway.
"Members of the public have contacted the council and other agencies praising the improved arrangements. We always knew that the vast majority of those cockle fishing were responsible citizens and we are pleased that the new permit system has squeezed out the selfish minority.”