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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 09:43 GMT
Bay cockling ban could be lifted
Cockle net
Inexperienced cocklers could be put in danger, warn fishermen
Cockle beds in Morecambe Bay which closed when a ban was imposed to protect stocks, could be reopened.

The North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee introduced the ban in April.

The committee said it hoped to reopen the beds at Fleetwood and Pilling Sands, Lancashire, as soon as possible.

But local fishermen have said they are worried lifting the ban will lead to large numbers of inexperienced cocklers flocking to the bay.

'Dangerous time'

Trevor Owen, chairman of the Morecambe and Heysham Fishermen's Association, said stocks at Pilling Sands were still low.

He added: "It's at a dangerous time of the year if they're going to open it in December or January, because there's very little light.

"Why can't they leave it for another few weeks towards the end of February when days are getting longer?

"It seems there's going to be quite a lot of inexperienced people. There's no other work anywhere in the country so they're all going to come to Fleetwood and Pilling."

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