The North East Kent European marine sites consist of Thanet Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Sandwich Bay SAC and Thanet Coast & Sandwich Bay Special Protection Area (SPA).
Shellfish harvesting is a long established practice across the inter-tidal chalk reef platforms of the Thanet coast. In recent years, public concern has grown at the increasing levels of observed harvesting. The presence of large organised groups of harvesters has been of particular concern.
Natural England commissioned this work to assess the effects that current levels of harvesting are having on the inter-tidal reef habitats and to determine if current levels are sustainable.
The findings in this report will be used to try to establish a baseline for future monitoring work. They will also help provide information for the 100 or so coastal wardens that work along the coast as well as be used as the basis to inform and reassure the public.