Food Safety

Shellfish Harvesting

The London Port Health Authority has temporarily closed the oyster production bed west of Southend Pier. Recent sampling shows that the health standards for molluscs are exceeded and may pose a risk to human health if consumed. Further information can be found in full closure notice accessible version and scanned version.

It is not illegal to gather shellfish for your own consumption but there are restrictions on how much you may collect. The Collecting Shellfish from the Foreshore leaflet gives further advice.

If you are concerned that persons harvesting shellfish on the seafront are doing so for commercial purposes and in significant quantities either as whole shellfish or shucked (removed from their shell) then please contact the council by submitting the online form and if the matter is on-going please also ring us and will try to send an officer to assess the situation.

If you are a shellfish commercial harvester then you must have a suitably issued and complete registration document when you land the product at Southend. Officers will require them to be produced for inspection at the point of landing. To obtain registration documents you need to apply to the City of London Port Health Authority. These document are required for both live bi-valve molluscs and gastropods (eg winkles).

Commercial collection of cockles is subject to a license, catch quotas and must be undertaken during the open season set by the IFCA (Inlands Fisheries and Conservation Authority).

Page last updated: 21/11/2018