This project aims to undertake the development work required for delivering a cockle (Cerastoderma edule) relaying trial in the Solway Firth.
The main objective of this feasibility study was to use existing datasets, knowledge of the Solway Firth cockle stocks and the local environment, to identify potential areas that could be utilised as Donor and Recipient sites in a full Research and Development (R&D) re-laying implementation project. All aspects of undertaking the R&D stage of the project were investigated so that all sampling techniques, site access, sampling equipment, safety equipment, staffing levels, project costs, vehicle choice, correct legal permissions and health and safety, could be established to allow a follow-on full R&D cockle re-laying project to be undertaken.
The most recent data available was from the 2015 Marine Scotland stock survey, which is somewhat out of date given the dynamism of cockle populations. Therefore, a new full stock survey was designed that could better inform the project team of which cockle beds would be suitable Donor and Recipient sites for the re-laying stage of the project. High density beds would be suitable as Donor sites whilst areas with low densities of cockles would be the most suitable Recipient sites.
When identifying the experimental sites, we also investigated the local geography, environmental factors, freshwater ingress, scouring, site access, site security, and the distances between the potential Donor and Recipient sites. All these factors could potentially stress the cockles either during transit, during the re-laying processes or after they had been transplanted.
The full consultant’s feasibility report, supplied to the University of Glasgow, will be used to inform and plan a follow-on R&D project.
University of Glasgow