Dee Estuary illegal cockle poacher must pay over £4,000 for offences

A man from St Helens has been found guilty of cockle poaching offences at Mold Magistrates Court and ordered to pay over £4,000 in fines and costs.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) prosecuted Kevin Brennan after proactive patrols and checks by NRW Officers found the suspect had illegally harvested cockle on the Dee Estuary to a total weight of 1210kg, and an estimated value of between £3,630 and £4,235. The offence took place across four dates in September 2021.

An NRW Officer was initially alerted during document checks at Kingfisher Seafoods yard, Drome Road, Deeside.

Mr Brennan was invited for an Interview, which he attended on 21 November 2021, where he admitted illegally harvesting Dee Estuary Cockle on all four occasions. On Tuesday 24 May at Mold Magistrates Court, Mr Brennan pleaded guilty to all four charges of fishing for shellfish, namely Cockles without a licence, contrary to Section 3(3) Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967.

David Powell, Natural Resources Wales Operations Manager for the North East, said:

“This proactive investigation perfectly demonstrates how NRW, whilst working closely with North Wales Police, can prosecute individuals who operate illegally. With over £4,000 handed out in fines and costs, a clear message has been sent to any potential offenders caught illegally harvesting cockles on the Dee Estuary.
“A lot of time and effort is spent managing the Dee Estuary cockle stock and calculating the amount available for valid licence holders. Illegal harvesting has a direct consequence on the Fishery and those who rely on its sustainability for their livelihoods.
“This is our second recent successful cockle enforcement case on the Dee Estuary, which further highlights the outstanding work undertaken by NRW Enforcement Officers across North East Wales.”

The Dee Estuary Cockle Fishery is an NRW managed Fishery which provides an income for 54 Licence holders and a valuable food source for birds and other marine life.


Image: Richard Croft / Cockle Shells / CC BY-SA 2.0