A century old Conwy-based industry is on the brink of collapse.

The Conwy Harbour Master told a special Conwy County Borough Council (CCBC) cabinet meeting the mussel industry had been on the decline for a number of years because of low yields and lack of a clear management strategy.

A decision in 2017 by the Welsh Government to enforce licensing legislation the harbour master said had "brought the industry to the brink of collapse" with only two gatherers working during the 2017/18 season and the purification plant at risk of closure.

But both CCBC and Conwy Town Council have rallied behind the century old industry in a bid to keep it afloat.

Councillor Joan Vaughn, CCBC and Conwy Town Council, has lived in Conwy her whole life and said something needed to be done to save the mussel industry.

Cllr Vaughn said: "The Conwy Mussel industry is centuries old and the demand for them is always high. Everyone wants Conwy Mussels.

"We can't let this industry die, we just can't."

At the special meeting held by the CCBC cabinet last month cllr Louise Emery, cabinet member for economic development, said it was vital that they support the industry.

Mrs Emery said: "It is clear from the report that we need to support the core group of fishers and plant operator to continue to operate but also protect the future financial obligations of CCBC."

As of September 1, 2017, the Welsh Government began to enforce the provisions of the Sea Fish Licensing Order 1992 that required all vessels used in the Conwy fishery to be licenced.

The Harbour Master said the fishers were provided with no advance notice of the decision, but rather verbally advised of the change in policy on the first day of the 2017/2018 season, effectively placing those without licences out of employment with immediate effect.

Until this season the fishers in the area had been assured by the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee (NWSFC) that licences were not required as, at that time, fishing was within a Regulated Fishery.

But when the NWSFC was disbanded in 2009, Welsh waters came under the jurisdiction of the Welsh Government which then permitted the regulating order to lapse.

But CCBC and the Conwy Conucil have both now stepped in and are offering to help.

The special cabinet meeting discussed options of what could be done and resolved to support the Conwy Mussel Company in an application for a several order which would see them become the legal owners of the shellfish species covered by the order within the area.

The Conwy Town Council have also resolved to giving financial support to help pay for the several licence.

But the Harbour Master said at the special meeting that the Welsh Government may take between three to five years to grant a several order.

Cllr Vaughn said: "The town council and CCBC are willing to make up the short fall but the longer this process takes the bigger the impact it will have on the future of the industry."

A letter is also set to be sent to the cabinet secretary for economy and transport, Ken Skates, outlining the concerns that a several order may take between three to five years in the hope of speeding up the process.

Conwy Mussels were contacted for comment.