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The Masked Tulip

When does cockle picking become an industry?

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I went for a bike ride around Swansea Bay this afternoon. Ended up in Mumbles and sat down on a bench looking out over a small beach. Very pleasant. Loads of tourists and kids on half-term all around. There were people doing various water-sports. In front of me I noticed that loads of people were cockling.

When I looked again I realise that they were all Chinese. I counted nearly two dozen on the small beach. A few yards away from me some other Chinese watched on.

Then I realised that they were cockling on an almost industrial scale. They were moving methodically along the beach using large plastic buckets - looked like old paint buckets - that they piled high with cockls. Every now and then a man would take two of the buckets into the car-park, presumably to some vehicle, and then return with empty buckets only for them to be filled again. A teenage Chinese lad seemed to be keeping a keen eye on cars arriving in the carp-park.

Suddenly I felt as if I was looking at a cockle bed being destroyed.

There are apparently rules about how many cockles you can remove from the beach - a few kilos I believe.

Anyhow, the more I watched these people the more I worrid about them just destroying the cockle beds. I also wondered about the Morecambe Bay tragedy where immigrant Chinese were being forced to harvest cockles.

So I rang up Natural Resources Wales... who said it was nothing to do with them... but they gave me the phone number of some Welsh Fisheries body... So I rang... and got no reply... So I went online and found a couple more numbers... and rang... and rang... and rang... and got no reply.

I really did not want to be ringing the Police and telling them the above. So I ended up emailing the Fisheries people my story.

As I sit here typing this I actually feel quite annoyed by it all. They were taking a serious amount of cockles. It felt to me as if they were stripping the bed. In the expanse of Swansea Bay it is probably not that much but I wonder how long it would take for that small beach to recover. I wonder what would happen if they were doing this daily on different beaches.

Did I do right? Or wrong? Should I have done, as I heard other passers-by do, just look at them, make some comments and then do nothing?

Edit:

A few years back I could have just rung the Coastguard station, which was about half a mile away, and they would have just taken control of the situation. Now, with the various QUANGO's in Wales it seems a complex matter just finding out who is repsonsible for what.

Edited by The Masked Tulip

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I hate to make a generalisation like this, but many immigrant Chinese seem to have had poor backgrounds and are often extremely materialistic. I remember speaking to someone running a city farm who was describing how one year a family of Chinese had stripped every single piece of fruit off all the bushes in the farm. 

My south east asian (non-Chinese) missus is similar. She'll jealously guard a public fruit tree she has "found" until she's had all of the fruit off it. Until recently, the idea of giving something away to charity was simply alien to her. She even used to take the tips I'd leave for waiting staff at restaurants.  I think the poverty mindset is a very difficult one to shift. 

Edited by SCC

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1 minute ago, swissy_fit said:

There might have been a risk to TMTs safety if he'd intervened...

I felt a threat to my Welsh brekkie. They will be going after the laverbread next.

1 minute ago, SCC said:

I hate to make a generalisation like this, but many immigrant Chinese seem to have had poor backgrounds and are often extremely materialistic. I remember speaking to someone running a city farm describing how one year, a family of Chinese had stripped every single piece of fruit off the bushes in the farm. 

My south east asian (non-Chinese) missus is similar. She'll jealously guard a public fruit tree she has "found" until she's had all of the fruit off it. Until recently, the idea of giving something away to charity was simply alien to her. She even used to take the tips I'd leave for waiting staff at restaurants.  I think the poverty mindset is a very difficult one to shift. 

 

Yes, such thoughts went through my mind. Almost as if they had won the cockle lottery.

I have no problem with them taking cockles within reason as most people do. This was almost industrial like stripping of the bed.

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Apparently the Magna Carta allows for cockle picking of up to eight pounds, per person, from the foreshore doesn't seem to say if that includes shells or not, I would presume so. If there were two dozen of them then cumulatively they would be entitled to take knocking on for 200lbs in weight.

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1 minute ago, SNACR said:

Apparently the Magna Carta allows for cockle picking of up to eight pounds, per person, from the foreshore doesn't seem to say if that includes shells or not, I would presume so. If there were two dozen of them then cumulatively they would be entitled to take knocking on for 200lbs in weight.

 

5 kilos a day in Wales.

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22 minutes ago, SNACR said:

Apparently the Magna Carta allows for cockle picking of up to eight pounds, per person, from the foreshore doesn't seem to say if that includes shells or not, I would presume so. If there were two dozen of them then cumulatively they would be entitled to take knocking on for 200lbs in weight.

For a british citizen.

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26 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

I felt a threat to my Welsh brekkie. They will be going after the laverbread next.

 

Yes, such thoughts went through my mind. Almost as if they had won the cockle lottery.

I have no problem with them taking cockles within reason as most people do. This was almost industrial like stripping of the bed.

Ring migration.

What ages?

Over 30 and theyll be illegal migrants.

Try going up to the teenager and flashing a driving license. See what happens.

A cantonese friend goes mqd and the Han scams. Theyll eat the world away she says.

 

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2 minutes ago, spygirl said:

Ring migration.

What ages?

Over 30 and theyll be illegal migrants.

Try going up to the teenager and flashing a driving license. See what happens.

A cantonese friend goes mqd and the Han scams. Theyll eat the world away she says.

 

 

Well, re the Morecambe Chinese cockle picking deaths, I was tempted to call whatever is responsible for migration - but I couldn't name the agency to even find their phone number.

Ages were from adults to very young children.

Edited by The Masked Tulip

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6 minutes ago, SNACR said:

Unbelievably some people with darker faces are these days.

Then they be on benefits and not doing backbreaking work fir pennies.

4 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

 

Well, re the Morecambe Chinese cockle picking deaths, I was tempted to call whatever is responsible for migration - but I couldn't name the agency to even find their phone number.

Friend reckons they are shipping people over on tourist vusas and working them to death.

Seriously, border agency. They might thank you for it, before they get caught out by a tide.

 

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It is currently the closed season for cockles.  Not sure if it is a legal thing, but you just don't collect them at the moment.  

These people will destroy the beds.

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You could try the person responsible for tidal fishing for Natural Resources Wales -- colin.charman@cyforthnaturiolcymru.gov.uk .  They seem to be (very slowly) working up a 'something must be done' policy.

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6 minutes ago, dgul said:

It is currently the closed season for cockles.  Not sure if it is a legal thing, but you just don't collect them at the moment.  

These people will destroy the beds.

Yes, cockles breed from March to August. I am not sure what the seasonal rules are. As an individual I was always told not to pick cockles in the summer - think that is mainly a heat. health reason though.

4 minutes ago, dgul said:

You could try the person responsible for tidal fishing for Natural Resources Wales -- colin.charman@cyforthnaturiolcymru.gov.uk .  They seem to be (very slowly) working up a 'something must be done' policy.

I rang the Natural Resources Wales report line and they said it was nothing to do with them. They gave me a Fisheries agency number - but no one ever answered.

NRW used to have a web page on cockles but it now generates a 404 error.

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1 minute ago, One percent said:

There is always a fisheries boat in Whitby harbour. God knows why as there aren't any fishing boats left. Anyhow, I'll knock on the door if you like b:)

Yow dorty hen!

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14 minutes ago, dgul said:

It is currently the closed season for cockles.  Not sure if it is a legal thing, but you just don't collect them at the moment.  

These people will destroy the beds.

 

Yes, my concern is very much that they destroy the bed and then keep moving on like a horde of locusts destroying the beds as they go.

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1 minute ago, One percent said:

There is always a fisheries boat in Whitby harbour. God knows why as there aren't any fishing boats left. Anyhow, I'll knock on the door if you like b:)

Aye.

I'm sure they eagerly await the latest "Betterware" catalogue...

;)

 

XYY

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It's strange that the So-Called BBC breakfast guys this morning had a cockle fisherman who couldn't catch enough to live on anymore. This was in Llandudno.

Cockles had never entered my thoughts until today, and now 2 stories at once.

#saveourcockles

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It is illegal, they are run by a gang master, the will travel from one bay to the next, they will destroy all the shell-fish beds, they are all working illegally.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/458775/Chinese-cockle-picker-s-life-of-fear-under-police-protection

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-sussex-37745726/cockle-pickers-filmed-at-adur-estuary-in-west-sussex

Looks like they are back, the absence of other reports leaves to believe that the cockles have been relatively undisturbed hence the difficulty in making contact.

Did you take any photos, it would have been interesting to see if there was a reaction from the pickers master.

This should do the trick.

https://www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime

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