Statement on significant increase in people gathering shellfish on the Wirral

There has been a significant increase in people gathering shellfish, including cockles, during low tide at Leasowe and Moreton on the Wirral.

The nutrient rich mudflats are incredibly important natural areas that home and feed our coastal wildlife that lives there all year round, as well as species of birds that migrate across the world to feed in the invertebrates and shellfish that live in the mud. It’s what makes Wirral so special for spotting birds and why the North Wirral Foreshore is protected nationally and internationally as an SSSI, SPA and SAC*

Fishing for shellfish on the Wirral shore causes the following issues:

  • Illegal exploitation of cockles and threatens shellfish populations
  • Reduction in the food supply of protected birds
  • Large numbers of people on the mudflats causes disturbance to the birds and other wildlife
  • Eating unclassified shellfish endangers human health

For these reasons, Cheshire Wildlife Trust does not condone fishing for shellfish on the Wirral Shore. We support the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities’ decision to introduce an emergency bylaw. This will legally protect the area from this destructive behaviour on our precious coast.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust works tirelessly to fight for nature’s recovery on land and sea. As well providing a haven for coastal wildlife on our Red Rocks Nature Reserve and campaigning for the protection of our seas, we’re also leading a partnership project, Dee Coastliners, to inspire and empower  local communities to protect the natural heritage of the Dee Estuary.

*A Special Protection Area (SPA) is a site designated under the Birds Directive. These sites, together with Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), are called Natura sites and they are internationally important for threatened habitats and species.  A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is a formal conservation designation.