Auckland's Cockle Bay beach being wiped of its cockles by hunters, residents say

Residents in the East Auckland suburb of Cockle Bay say people are wiping the beach of its cockles and warn of long-term damage to the beach if habits aren't curbed.

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Residents say people are wiping the beach of its shellfish and warn of long-term damage. Source: 1 NEWS

Low tide at Cockle Bay means high numbers of people digging, scooping and hunting for cockles.

And with no shortage of signage, the limit of 50 is well known.

But residents are concerned too many people are flocking to the beach, sometimes hundreds per day.

"There's a big concern in the area that one day we just won't be able to get any cockles there at all," says local, Brian Robertson.

For the past six months, people haven't been allowed to take cockles from the beach but the season is now open.

So for the past couple of weekends, families have been down on the beach digging for that prized shellfish.

"They're nice, but give it another three or four weeks, you won't get those. They'll be gone," says local, Jim Holt.

The Ministry for Primary Industries says its last survey in 2016 revealed the seabeds in Cockle Bay were in a healthy condition.

But locals don't want to wait until the next survey before tougher action is taken.