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Cockle pickers fear for future.

WELSH cockle pickers have spoken of fears for their livelihoods after the death of millions of the shellfish.

The mass death of 6,000 tonnes of cockles at Burry Port has blighted the shellfish industry in West Wales for the second time in recent years.

It was only four years ago that a 12-month ban on cockle picking, because of fears of a shellfish bug at Burry Inlet, near Llanelli, was lifted.

Cockle pickers, who met in Llanelli to discuss their fears on Friday night, believe pollution is to blame and want a public inquiry.

Penclawdd Shellfish Processing boss Mark Swistun said: "This is definitely a threat to the industry and we will have to change our policies. I think the numbers dying could be above 6,000 tonnes.

"At the moment we don't know what to do."

Expert Dr Ruth Callaway, from Swansea University, added that parasites or disease could also have been to blame.

Tests earlier this year by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science(Cefas) confirmed the presence of various bacteria.
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 15, 2008
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