The Thames Estuary supports an important cockle fishery, and the commercial harvesting of the cockles is controlled by the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (KEIFCA). In order to successfully manage the cockle stocks the Authority has conducted annual surveys of the cockle beds within the Thames Estuary since 1988.
The sampling programme has been designed to allow for annual seasonal assessment of cockle stocks within the major commercial harvesting areas of the Thames Estuary. The results of the surveys are used to examine the distribution and density of cockles, and to produce estimated values of population size.
The latest report gives an annual up-date assessment of all cockle stock surveys carried out by KEIFCA during 2017. The data from these surveys is added to the previous annual surveys to provide current information which is used to inform and assess the management strategy of the districts commercial cockle stocks.
Earlier reports are also available here for reference purposes