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Dee Estuary fishery to enter assessment process

THE Dee Estuary fishery has entered into an assessment process.

The estuary, one of the largest cockle fisheries in the UK, will be assessed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and if it meets the standards will be certified as sustainable and well managed.

As recently as 2007, the Dee Estuary was closed to all fishing following a severe decline in cockle populations across the fishery. However, a long-term recovery following the introduction of the new licensing system by Environment Agency Wales in 2008 and the improvement of water quality in the estuary has seen a steady improvement in cockle stocks.

David Edwell, area manager for Environment Agency Wales said: “Passing an independent MSC assessment of the cockle beds will be testament to the new licensing system we have introduced and the efforts of the cocklers.

“Since the introduction of the licensing scheme in 2008 we have had a full season of harvesting on the beds meaning a steady income for the cocklers on the Dee Estuary.

“If we are successful in achieving certification, this will hopefully open up more markets for the cockles and provide a further boost for the industry and economy in North Wales and elsewhere.”

Anyone with an interest can be involved in the assessment. For more information contact Dr Andrew Hough on [email protected].