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Shellfish harvesting

Live bivalve molluscs/live shellfish - registration to harvest

Wyre Council is responsible for the cockle bed located at Pilling Sands East (B066W) grid reference SD41835241. Wyre Council works with other agencies and local authorities as part of the North West Shellfish Liaison Group (NWSLG), to ensure that shellfish in the region can be harvested according to legislation and statutory guidance.

Our responsibilities mainly relate to classification and routine sampling of the beds, as well as the issue and control of registration documents to registered gatherers.

Commercial gatherers may only harvest live bivalve molluscs from areas with fixed locations and boundaries that the competent authority has classified. These can be found on the classification zone maps.

There is a legal requirement for each batch of live bivalve molluscs or live shellfish being removed from a designated shellfish production area to be accompanied by a registration document. Registration documents ensure that shellfish placed on the market are safe to eat by providing details of the origin of batches of shellfish and maintaining traceability from harvesting to final sale.

When any shellfish bed within the borough is open, registration documents can be obtained from the council. Requests must be submitted by emailing or using our online application Form :

Application form - register to harvest

For trade information with respect to the legal requirements surrounding use of registration documents and movement of shellfish please see the Live Bivalve Mollusc registration policy Due to its age this is not an accessible document. If you would like a copy in an accessible format please contact the councils web and digital officer.

Failure to comply with these requirements

If shellfish are harvested from unclassified or prohibited beds or a batch of live shellfish is not accompanied by a completed registration document, food authorities are empowered to seize them and seek an order for their destruction through the courts.

Further charges can also be brought against the gatherer. A person found guilty of an offence under these regulations can be subject to a fine, and/or imprisonment of up to two years. Although the collecting of shellfish for personal consumption is unregulated, the commercial harvesting of shellfish for sale is controlled by regulations EC 854/2004 and EC 853/2004.

Pilling Sands East (B066W) grid reference SD41835241

This bed is open for cockle fishing between 1 September and 30 April. Find out more from North West Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA)

This bed is currently classified as a Seasonal Category B bed.  Subject to satisfactory sampling results, Pilling Sands East is usually classified as a B between 1 November - 31 May, reverting to class C all other times.

Should you have any queries regarding this matter, please email the Wyre Council's Commercial Safety Team:


The classification of a shellfish bed determines what level of treatment must be applied to the shellfish before they are safe to eat:

Class A: Molluscs can be harvested for direct human consumption.

Class B: Molluscs can go for human consumption after purification in an approved plant or after relaying in an approved relaying area or after an EC approved heat treatment process.

Class C: Molluscs can go for human consumption only after relaying for at least two months in an approved relaying area, whether or not combined with purification, or after an EC approved heat treatment process.

Prohibited: Molluscs must not go for human consumption.

Bacteriological quality

Wyre Council is required to undertake sampling of shellfish from designated production areas. Samples are sent for analysis and shellfish beds are classified based upon the bacteriological quality of the flesh.

Closing shellfish beds

Local authorities are required to close shellfish beds (using closure notices) to harvesting when unusually high levels of bacteria are found in samples.

The main aim of such closures is to safeguard public health, as the treatment that shellfish would normally undergo may be insufficient to get rid of all the bacteria.

Removing shellfish from a closed area is a legal offence.

Re-opening shellfish beds

When the beds are closed, the local authority tests the beds on a weekly basis. The closure notices remain in place until two consecutive samples show that bacteriological quality has returned to normal levels for the production area.

Additional information can be found at:



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