Recreational fishers in NSW will be limited to gathering just 20 bags of cockles per person, per day in response to community concerns about overfishing.
State Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the bag limit is being cut by more than half from 50 to ensure a balance between managing cockle numbers and providing a sustainable catch for recreational fishers.
The issue has caused concern amongst coastal communities, particularly in the Illawarra on the south coast.
“Cockles are a shared resource that are harvested recreationally, commercially and for customary purposes, so we have to ensure their sustainability,” Marshall said on Oct. 7.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward, whose electorate takes in the affected areas, said the changes would come into effect next Wednesday.
“The reduction in bag limits is an important step towards responding to community concerns, and is just one measure the NSW government has implemented to address the over-collection of cockles,” Ward said.
Those caught breaking the rules faced $500 on-the-spot fines, $200 for not paying a fishing fee or a maximum penalty of $22,000 and/or six-month imprisonment.
Over the past five years, fisheries officers have seized more than 100,000 illegally taken cockles and marine invertebrates.