Ribble Cockles – health risk delays opening of Foulnaze Bank fishery

Cockle samples from the Ribble Estuary which were tested by West Lancashire Environmental Health Department during week commencing 9 July have been found to have very high levels of a bacterium called E.Coli and other faecal coliforms. The cockles are currently unfit for human consumption and dangerous to eat, even if cooked. As a result trade in Ribble cockles has been prohibited until further notice and the Foulnaze Bank cockle fishery will remain closed until contamination reduces to safe levels.

Although the Foulnaze Bank fishery was due to open later this month it is likely to take much longer than a fortnight for contamination to reduce to safe levels. West Lancashire Environmental Health Department will be carrying out repeat sampling as a matter of urgency. The North Western Inshore and Fisheries Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) will not be issuing permits for the area until contamination begins to decrease and there is reasonable indication that the fishery may open, but they have advised that applicants can continue to send in paperwork for permits by post only so that paperwork can continue to be processed. 

Regular updates will be posted to the NWIFCA website (www.nw-ifca.gov.uk) and the Authority can be contacted by email (office@nw-ifca.gov.uk)