Alan Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
In my Plenary Statement on the Wales Marine and Fisheries Strategy on 18 June 2013, I set out the key priorities to shape that Strategic Action Plan. The review into shellfish in the intertidal areas of Wales has concentrated on the management of the cockle fisheries which are worth many millions of pounds to the Welsh economy.
A formal consultation on proposals to revise the management of cockle fisheries was undertaken between July and October 2012.
The response to first consultation provided a clear mandate for introducing a new regime for Cockle Fisheries across Wales, to deliver sustainability of the fisheries, and increase traceability and enforcement. Support was shown for the introduction of:
- a revised cockle scheme in Wales;
- adopting a multi agency approach;
- an improved traceability system;
- a young fishers/apprenticeship scheme;
- greater regulation and restrictions; and
- year round fishing, by way of a total allowable catch;
The results and analysis prompted further consideration of some of the elements contained within the proposals, namely the methodology for allocating permits under a new cockle management regime in Wales.
My officials have now looked at those elements as part of the package of measures and have refined proposals surrounding the details of the allocation methodology and to clarify the protocols of the forthcoming new management scheme for cockle fisheries in Wales.
I have today launched a public consultation for 12 weeks, and the recommendations from both consultations will be implemented as a priority to replace the existing system of regulations and in preparation for future seasons.