Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on the proposed independent research initiatives in cockles in the Burry Inlet which were at application or final funding bid stage in March 2017?
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has been proactive in promoting and maintaining an overview of the latest scientific research on cockle health.
NRW strongly recommended any further research should be on a wider international collaborative basis as the challenges faced by climate change, parasite distribution, ocean current circulation and cockle spat migration do not recognise international borders.
Two independent European Union (EU) INTERREG funded research projects succeeded in their funding bids and were initiated in 2017.
Both EU funded projects are actively focussed on cockle health in Welsh fisheries including the Burry Inlet, and, either focus specifically on cockles or consider cockles as part of ecosystem and oceanographic investigations linked to climate change challenges.
The two principle areas of research are as follows
Locally focused investigations were also proposed, including a Cockle Genetics PhD which attracted research funding with local industry support. This work is supervised by Aberystwyth University.
A proposal bid for historical cockle survey review and trend analysis was unsuccessful, however, this may be resubmitted in the future. Improved hydrodynamic modelling of the Burry Inlet and geomorphological investigations are at various stages of development and remain under review for further development and/or funding opportunities.