Welsh Government and Seafish announce funding support to make cockle picking and shellfish farming safer

Workers given money to buy life-saving Personal Flotation Devices following the recent loss of two cockle pickers in Wales.

Funding for safety equipment has been made available to cockle fishers and shellfish farmers in Wales to keep them safer while working along the coastline. It follows the tragic loss of two cockle fishermen this year.

Over £70,000 of Welsh Government funding is being administered by us. It will help commercial intertidal workers in Wales buy a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). They can claim £360 towards the costs of each PFD with PLB.

Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said:

I am pleased to confirm the Welsh Government is contributing over £70,000 towards the heavily discounted provision of personal flotation devices with personal locator beacons for cockle fishers and intertidal aquaculture workers.

Unlike fishers on board licenced vessels, there is no legal obligation for intertidal gatherers to wear a lifejacket while working. These are very dangerous jobs and I strongly encourage intertidal workers to take advantage of the discounted price to stay as safe as possible.

Dr Lynn Gilmore, Head of International Trade & UK Regions at Seafish, said:

We helped rolled out a similar scheme to commercial fishing vessel owners in 2018 using Welsh Government and Seafarers funds and the uptake was high, at around 90% of the fleet. We really hope this scheme for cockle pickers and shellfish farmers is just as successful. We don’t want to lose any more lives and having a PFD with PLB can make such a big difference if you get in to trouble.

To qualify for funding, all applicants must apply to us for approval before purchasing their preferred PFD with PLB and making a claim. The application window will be open from Monday 14 December until Friday 15 January.

To make an application for funding, please download and complete the application form, which is available in Welsh and English. Email the completed application form to walesfishingsafety@seafish.co.uk. Late applications will not be accepted, and funding will not be awarded retrospectively or to any applicants who have previously received support for purchasing PFDs and PLBs within the last three years.

The seafood industry in Wales have backed the project too.

Jon Parker, Chair of the Seafish Wales Advisory Committee (SWAC), said:

Following the success of the last scheme in improving safety amongst our commercial fishing fleet, this further funding from Welsh Government will allow us to improve the safety of the wider fishing and aquaculture community in Wales. The initiative has the full support of SWAC and its members.

Trevor Jones, Chair of the Welsh Fishing Safety Committee (WFSC) urged eligible workers to take advantage of the scheme. He added:

The scheme is open to active commercial cockle fishers with a current cockle picking licence or permit and active shellfish aquaculture production businesses. Everyone who qualifies should take advantage of this offer of tried and tested life-saving equipment. One of the primary aims of the WFSC is to achieve and maintain zero preventable deaths within the Welsh seafood industry. Wearing a PFD with a PLB while working in the intertidal area is a sure way of helping us to realise this aim.

Application for funding form (available in Welsh and English)