Foraging for seafood is a traditional occupation that is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity in the UK. Many different species of shellfish can be hand collected from Cornish shores. Hand collection for mussels is traditionally carried out on foot at low tide, but increasingly individuals (and some commercial operations) are collecting mussels by diving and snorkelling. Cockles are collected on soft sandy estuarine habitats at low tide using a rake. This is a traditional practice known as ‘trigging.’ Prawns can be hand collected using a push net in the shallows during summer months. Winkles are also hand collected on Cornish shores.
Hand collection of seafood generally has a low impact on the environment but if overdone it can create localised damage both to stocks and to the habitat being exploited. Stories of gangs of people stripping the shoreline of all mussels and limpets have been reported in the past.