The London Port Health Authority is responsible for all port health functions on the Thames. This includes the monitoring and sampling of shellfish and water quality to safeguard food safety and ensure that any risk to health is minimised.
The London Port Health Authority will open, close and classify shellfish harvesting areas based on their monitoring and sampling results and issue notices where necessary to close specific sites. The shellfish harvesting areas, current notices and further information in regard to shellfish.
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 (01702 215000) and ask for the food safety team and we 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 Inlands Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA).
Page last updated: 26/06/2019