Thousands of tonnes of shellfish will pass through Preston’s docks next month after bosses gave the go-ahead for fishing to resume.
The North West Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) has confirmed the cockle bed at Foulnaze Bank in the Ribble Estuary will be open for two weeks in October with a mussel bed also open in Morecambe Bay.
The authority said all cockles must be landed at Preston docks in a move which is likely to be see a large number of boats landing hauls in the city.
The Foulnaze Bank bed had been scheduled to reopen in June before a health scare after e-coli was found in shellfish meant its opening was delayed.
In a statement, the NWIFCA said the bed would open next on Monday, October 1 until Thursday, October 4 and then again between Monday, October 15 and Thursday, October 18.
It added: “After a successful summer opening in August, involving close partnership working with local authorities and relevant agencies, the fishery will open under similar restrictions.
“These include the use of only one access point, a requirement that all cockles must be landed at Preston and that all boats must have certain safety equipment.
“Additionally, this opening will require that all boat skippers have the necessary qualifications to operate a boat in darkness.”
The seed mussel fishery at Heysham Flat in Morecambe Bay opened yesterday to fisherman with the necessary clearance to fish for undersized mussels.
The NWIFCA said all the bed is only open via the Battery car park on Heysham’s promenade after 6am on weekdays, adding all quad bikes used must have a permit from Lancaster City Council.
Last year, beds in the Ribble Estuary had to be shut amid safety fears after up to 400 fishermen, including boats registered in Russia and across Europe, descended on the area to fish for cockles every day.
The emergency services were called to the area 26 times in less than two months to rescue stranded fishermen.
Cockles, which are mainly sold into Europe, can fetch up to £1,200 per tonne.
The Foulnaze Bank bed reopened in September 2011 after being closed for 22 years.