Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Seaside Harvest Time

About two weeks ago, I noticed while on my afternoon run, a group of about four men of possible eastern-european origin, harvesting the cockles and mussels in West Bay, towards the end of the promenade there. Unusual I thought and promptly forgot about it until I heard that others have seen this too.

I have just had a chat with the Thanet coastal project - see sidebar link - and apparently this has been reported elsewhere. It is not illegal but the project wishes to measure any environmental impact and has asked that if you see this happening, please report it to thanet.coast@thanet.gov.uk

Harvesting of this kind only becomes an issue when the product is used for commercial consumption from a food safety perspective and so there's an equal interest in knowing who the cockles and mussels are being sold to.

16 comments:

Tony Beachcomber said...

Ed, over the years oysters have bedded down along the coast, they have attached themslves to the rocks from minnis to the nayland. Just thought if if you persue this you might mention the oysters.

DrMoores said...

I had noticed the oysters over the last year.. some are enormous and wondered if there was a mother lode somewhere offshore!

sue said...

I am a Thanet Coastal Warden and am monitoring one favourite spot for shellfish collecting.
The problems really come with groups of anything up to 20 people in a gang usually with family groups who take anything. They will take any species, any size. Tiny crabs, mussells, winkles, oysters, name it. They are often led by a gangmaster who is sometimes the only English speaker. They appear as soon as the reef does and leave at the very last minute before the tide. This can mean 6 hours of non stop harvesting. That's a lot of shellfish.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
I have also seen people gathering, but only winkles, which there seems to be an abundance of.
The people were Far Eastern though.

Anonymous said...

Given pollution in the estuary and the N. Foreland outfall, this seems a little dodgy. I am more concerned about the bashing of our impoverished (effect of pollution over the years)shore ecosystem than peoples intestinal problems!

Mark said...

Approximately one month ago, while walking along the beach between Dumpton Gap and Viking Bay, we passed a small group removing limpets from the concrete sea defences. Upon our return along the top of the cliff, the said group of people were pushing a full shopping trolly to their car. This raised eyebrows at the time so I am glad we are not the only people to have noticed this.

Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?

Anonymous said...

Sue, do you no if they are edible, the oysters at westbay, some friends of mine had also noticed and wanted to try them, just a handfull mind ... sounds like we are to late though?

sue said...

The oysters are certainly edible but the water quality is the issue. I would wait until the water quality monitoring is done and the results published. They will be posted somewhere on the front in a chart.
Thanet Coast Project is monitoring to see what damage is being done. Unfortunately this is a long term survey.

sue said...

BTW. As Simon says if you see it happening try to make a note of time and place, number of collectors in group, what they are collecting and car reg if possible or any of these things and report to Thanet Coast project at Thanet Council. Do not approach the collectors.

sue said...

Don't think oysters are edible in breeding season which is May to August.

sue said...

Oh yeah, and do some research before you eat them otherwise you be sick.
Must always be icy cold etc.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Whenever, there is a good hard blow I always find live oysters between the low water and high water mark on the beaches. I often pick them up and put them in either the walpole bay or main sands tidal pools, that way they can carry on living their natural lives with some chance of survival.

sue said...

Yeh Tony, that's what I would do too.

Anonymous said...

I would be really careful about eating anything taken from the beach.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Sue, I do the same with the cuttle fish eggs washed up on the tide line, it is a shame that more people do not put marine life in the pools.

sue said...

Absolutely. Unfortunately I think a lot of people would not be able to identify them. It's surprising sometimes how little interest and knowledge some local people have about this wonderful coastline.