Lancs seeks new shell-fishing law

Lancaster City Council is lobbying for a review of marine regulation following the conviction of a Chinese cockling gangmaster.

The council has called for a national licensing scheme, which it claims would control conditions and minimise the risks associated with shell-fishing in Morecambe Bay.

In February 2004, 23 Chinese cockle-pickers drowned in the bay. Gang boss Lin Liang Ren was last week sentenced to 14 years for unlawful killing .

The Morecambe Bay Joint Liaison Group was formed following the pickers' deaths and council leader Ian Barker has had a number of meetings with environment secretary Margaret Beckett.

'Commercial fishing from boats is strongly regulated but there is little licensing in place to protect people using tractors or quad bikes, said Barker. 'It is absurd.'

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