1. Marine bivalves provide an important seafood resource, but conflicts between bivalve fisheries and conservation goals may arise.
2. A scientific debate about cockle dredging in the Dutch Wadden Sea resulted in an apparent consensus among scientists of a severe and long-lasting impact of the mechanical fisheries, and the fisheries were banned.
3. Specifically, two highly cited papers concluded that the fisheries caused a strong reduction in bivalve recruitment for a period of 8 years and that the fisheries led to the loss of red knots from the Dutch Wadden Sea and a decline of the European wintering population.
4. Here, we show that these papers had severe shortcomings in terms of data selection and data analysis and we challenge their conclusions.