The Dee Estuary currently has five large cockle beds, three are accessed from the Welsh Shore and two (West Kirby and Thurstaston) from Wirral and are partly within the areas of the estuary owned by Wirral Borough Council.

Although the Council owns the land, fishing rights and their management in the Dee are the responsibility of Environment Agency Wales.

A number of byelaws exist which relate to the methods of gathering cockles and these are enforced by the Environment Agency.

In recent years the Environment Agency has been able to place further restrictions by closing the beds for most of the year and restricting the times of day and days of the week when cockling takes place.

A permit is needed to take a vehicle onto the foreshore to remove cockles.