Burry Inlet cockle fishery changes
The current cockle Fishery Regulating order for the Burry Inlet comes to an end on 15 June 2025 and on expiry it will likely return to a public fishery under Welsh Government arrangements. NRW has undertaken a detailed review and has concluded that it will not be seeking to apply for a new Regulating Order.
Why is this happening?
The Burry Inlet Cockle Regulating Order was the first of its kind when implemented in 1965. It was the only effective fisheries management tool available at that time to protect the fishery from over exploitation.
Since its introduction nearly 60 years ago, the marine fisheries and conservation regulatory landscape has developed significantly. Now, there are many regulations that protect natural ecosystems and enable the sustainable management of natural resources, which therefore replace the need for the regulating order.
What are the benefits?
While we considered whether we should proceed with a new Regulating Order application or let it return to a public fishery under Welsh Government arrangements on 15 June 2025, two main factors arose:
As part of our considerations, we reviewed the current cost to the public purse of managing the fishery and found that to achieve the necessary full cost recovery for the management service we provide, individual licence fees would have to increase to unaffordable levels.
The current value of the Burry Inlet Cockle Fishery is similar to the neighbouring Three Rivers Cockle Fishery which aims to achieve similar fisheries and conservation objectives. The Three Rivers Cockle Fishery is managed under the updated Welsh Government public fishery arrangements at a lower cost.
There is significant demand from individuals who would like to access the fishery but are unable to under the current system that limits the number of licenses to make sure the fishery is sustainable. The new permit system could enable eligible individuals to apply for permits on an annual basis with the flexibility to enter or leave the fishery if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Proposed New Welsh Government all Wales Cockle Management measures
New Welsh Government all Wales Cockle Management measures are being proposed. These proposals will have similar controls to protect Burry Inlet’s fishery and internationally important wildlife and conservation features.
The proposed new measures will provide more choice and flexibility for professional cockle fishers to access other Welsh public fisheries with an all-Wales cockle permit system. These measures are likely to be in operation by the time the Regulating Order for Burry Inlet expires on 15 June 2025.
What happens between now and the end of the Regulating Order in 2025?
We recognise that the decision to allow the Regulating Order to lapse will be seen as a significant change by some. We are confident this is the right and responsible course which fits with Welsh Government’s aim to simplify the management of cockle fisheries in Wales, to ensure the sustainability of cockle stocks and protect the wider environment for future generations.
We remain committed to managing the fishery effectively until the current Regulating Order expires in June 2025. We will work to develop and implement any transitional arrangements that are considered necessary. In the interim we will continue to engage with all licensees individually and through the Burry Inlet Management Advisory Group (BIMAG). We continue to implement the proposals in our Management Plan to develop a thriving cockle fishery in the Burry Inlet which supports, protects, and enhances the needs of the community and the environment on which it depends.