Skip to main content

Consultation on the proposed process for reviewing and developing future cockle management

About the consultations

On the 28 September 2024 the Thames Estuary Cockle Fishery Order 1994 (TECFO), which started in 1994, will end. Although this is three years away, the ending of the TECFO provides an opportunity to review how cockle stocks are managed, not only this area but across the whole KEIFCA district.

Reviewing and developing new management and legislation will not be easy as the cockle fisheries are one of the most important but complex fisheries in the KEIFCA District. The cockle fisheries provide income and jobs for a large number of fishermen and, with coastal towns like Leigh-on-Sea and Whitstable, provide tourism, cultural and historic links between the cockle fisheries and wider society. The fisheries also take place with a complex mosaic of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the cockle stocks provide food for a wide range of bird and fish species, whist also providing other wider environmental benefits such as filtering seawater and CO 2 capture.

Balancing the needs of different stakeholders; be it local community needs, current cockle permit holders, current TECFO licence holders, other fishers working within the cockle industry, cocklers working in the Wash, environmental NGOs, or other commercial fishermen from the Thames and beyond, will be difficult and there are likely to be a wide range of views. The significant financial value of the cockle fisheries and the historic access to the KEIFCA cockle fisheries are likely to significantly influence how different people view the current and future management of the fisheries.

To best capture views and ideas, a bespoke engagement process was developed, where stakeholders could book a 10-minute slot and give filmed evidence to feed into the review and management development process. The oral evidence sessions ran over 2 days at the Thurrock Hotel, Aveley on 20 and 21 October, and 25 people gave evidence to a panel of KEIFCA Authority members.

KEIFCA oral evidence panel

John Nichols (Chair) – John has worked professionally in the boat building and fishing industry since 1972. He has been chairman of Thanet Fishermen’s Association for the past 22 years and has served as a member of the IFCA and the previous Sea Fisheries Committee for the same period of time. John is currently Vice Chairman of the IFCA.

Tanya Ferry - Tanya has worked in estuaries for over 15 years, principally working on the Thames as an EA fisheries officer before moving to the Port of London. Here she works on environmental impact, policy and regulation, working with businesses across the estuary. Tanya is also a trustee of a marine conservation charity and runs a small local foundation working on the Medway and the Thames.

Eden Hannam (20 October only) – Eden currently works for Defra as a Senior Policy Advisor in Marine Planning and Licencing, having previously worked for the World Wildlife Fund as head of Marine Policy and Eastern IFCA where he spent time as the CEO.

To mirror the written questionnaire that also formed part of the consultation process, the oral evidence panel asked the same 4 questions (covering each of the 4 technical sections of the questionnaire) to each participant. After these questions, there was an opportunity for any further comment from the participant as well as the ability for the panel to ask any further follow up questions.

1) Have you got any comments or thoughts on how the cockle fisheries are run and managed at present?

2) What issues do you think KEIFCA should consider or prioritise in developing new regulations?

3) How do you think permissions, like permits or licences, should be issued and what criteria do you think needs to be met by an applicant, to allow access the cockle fisheries in the KEIFCA district?

4) Do you have any thoughts or comments on the proposed process KEIFCA has outlined for reviewing and developing new cockle management?

The evidence given has also been edited to produce a summary film that aims to capture the range of different opinions from stakeholders. The film should not be viewed on its own but rather as a complementary piece to the individual stakeholder films below. KEIFCA members will consider the evidence provided on this site in conjunction with the results of the written questionnaires when they next meet on 26 November 2021 at Chelmsford BC, Essex.

Summary

October 2021

Individual stakeholder views

This evidence was recorded and filmed to allow us to create a true and accurate account of each participants’ views and, for those participants who agreed, to allow people not able to attend the session to hear the views expressed. The question buttons provide viewers with a short cut to move straight to answers to specific questions. We would however suggest that viewer watch the whole film to ensure that any answer is not taken out of context.

Jason Lengden

Coral Island Seafoods Ltd

Callum Bedwell

Coral Island Seafoods Ltd

Charlie Marsh

Trevor Lineham Shellfish Ltd

Richard Foad

Trevor Lineham Shellfish Ltd