Burry Inlet cockles
First certified as sustainable in in April 2001 and recertified in February 2007. Started second reassessment in September 2011.
Species: Cockle (Cerastoderma edule)
Location: Burry Inlet Estuary in South Wales (UK) near the towns of Llanelli and Swansea
Fishing methods: Hand-raking and sieving of cockles
Number of fisheries: 1
Subscribe to RSS - add this to your reader to receive an update when new information on this fishery is added.
Do you source fish from this fishery?
Show your customers how the fish is caught – download and display this case study from our Net Benefits report.
Download Fishers' stories - Net Benefits 2009 - Burry Inlet Cockle(PDF, 200kb)
More about cockles
The cockle Cerastoderma edulis is a burrowing bivalve occurring on all British and European coasts. It is common in the intertidal and shallow subtidal, where it can occur in a variety of sediments, notably mud, sand and muddy gravels. Cockles live within a few centimetres of the surface and can be washed out en-masse during storms. Lifespan is typically 2-4 years and they spawn at the age of around 18 months.
More about the fishing methods
Cockles are collected by hand-raking. They are then sieved through meshes - those small enough to pass through the mesh are left in place to rebury.
Most cockles are sold cooked. Cockles are mainly sold locally but are also sold to UK retailers, and some are exported to Spain, Holland, France and Portugal. Changes in European health regulations have meant investment by local cockle processors since 1993 and the need for capital investment has required a pooling of resources. Accordingly there are now only three processors on the south side of the estuary (two are family interests and a new co-operative). On the north side a long-standing bottling plant exists.
Most processing is undertaken locally. Occasionally other merchants set up grading or distribution centres where the cockles are sent either to 'shell on' markets or for processing elsewhere.