There are renewed calls to address cockle collecting in Lake Illawarra, with a Shellharbour councillor proposing a temporary ban on the practice.
Although there has been a crackdown on the shellfish behaviour of recreational anglers, as another summer season looms, Shellharbour councillor Kellie Marsh said more needs to be done.
"I'm terribly concerned about the environmental impacts and the desecration of Lake Illawarra," she said.
"While we're not at panic stages with it right at this second, I do believe that we need to be proactive instead of reactive."
Therefore, Cr Marsh has lodged a motion for Tuesday night's council meeting.
Cr Marsh has asked that council write to the NSW Premier, the NSW Minister for Energy and Environment and the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, calling on a ban on cockle collecting in Lake Illawarra for a two-year trial period.
This would be followed by an assessment of the effectiveness of the ban.
Cr Marsh has also proposed that Shellharbour council write to Wollongong City councillors and request that as partners in the Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee, they also support the banning of cockle collecting in Lake Illawarra for a two-year trial period.
The daily bag limit for cockles is 50 per person.
However, some recreational fishers have reportedly collected hundreds at once.
Cr Marsh said the issue of overfishing had caused a "lot of angst and anxiety in our community".
She said the temporary ban would provide time for fisheries and councils to educate tourists and locals about excessive cockle fishing.
"I'm really worried that someone is going to get hurt, because we have extremely passionate residents in Shellharbour," she said.
"I applaud them for the advocacy they're showing (by) looking after the lake, but I am terribly concerned that whether it be a local or a visitor, that there will be some form of confrontation where it will escalate."
Penalties for the illegal collection of cockles and other shellfish range from on-the-spot fines of $500 for a first offence to $44,000 and/or 12 months in jail for subsequent offences.
"Unfortunately we've had numbers of greedy people who are coming down to take these cockles, not just for their own consumption, but to make their own hip-pocket a lot larger (by selling them on Facebook)," Cr Marsh said.
"We don't want overfishing of anything in Lake Illawarra, because we need to make sure it's there for the next generation."
In January, Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson called for a temporary ban on cockle collecting amid concerns overfishing is causing "irreparable damage" to Lake Illawarra.
The state Labor MP said the ban - while drastic - was needed "as a matter of urgency" following numerous reports of overfishing.