Not sure if you knew - but unless you have a permit you shouldn't collect cockles between Southend in Essex, all the way round the Thames Estuary, along the Kent coast, down as far as the old lighthouse at Dungeness.
This reads a little draconian, so I wrote to the Kent Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, to ask for clarification for the purpose of "foraging" for personal eating, as this document doesn't mention it.
and i got a nice email back...which confirms that you are allowed to forage for 5 litres of lovely Kentish Cockles on any given day.
So that's that cleared up.....
PS - they are delicious!....
Dear Mr Jesson
Thank you for your e-mail.
I have shown below the
advice we give to those wishing to take a few cockles for their own consumption
but NOT for resale.
The reason we are referred to as both Kent &
Essex Sea Fisheries Committee and Kent & Essex IFCA is that on 1 April 2011
the Sea Fisheries Committees ceased to exist and were replaced by the Inshore
Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA), however the Byelaws which are
presently under review are still legal and binding and were signed by the
Secretary of State and approved to the Kent and Essex SFC.
ESSEX INSHORE FISHERIES AND CONSERVATION AUTHORITY
in place under the Thames Estuary Cockle Fishery Order and also the Kent and
Essex Sea Fisheries Committee Cockle Fishery Permits byelaw that persons taking
cockles must be in possession of either a licence or permit dependent upon which
area they are fishing.
The SFC/Authority is not opposed to persons
without a licence or permit taking a small quantity of cockles for their own
consumption. Officers have, therefore been instructed to take no action
against persons removing less than 5 litres of whole cockles in the shell per 24
Please note Environmental Health Departments of the various
Councils within our District can, if there are health concerns, place a
Prohibition Order on the collection of shellfish and the Order must be adhered
to at all times and the local Environmental Health Department should be
contacted to ascertain if such an Prohibition Order has been
If you require any further assistance please do not
hesitate to contact me.
Joan Taylor | Office
Kent and Essex Inshore
Fisheries and Conservation Authority
Paragon House, Albert Street,
Ramsgate, Kent. CT11 9HD