Increased interest for the common whelk
The common whelk is one of the largest and
most common snails in the north Atlantic. Several countries fish the common
whelk, which many consider to be a delicacy. In Sweden, the common whelk
is an unused resource, but interest for fishing this species is growing.
Since 1995 at the Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, "Project
- Common whelk" has been in progress with the goal of elucidating the biology
and presence of the common whelk in Swedish waters. This research is very
important for a future fishing industry that is both long-term and regulated.
If fishing should be too intensive, the average size of the whelk will decrease
and when there are too few sexually mature whelks, the population will have
a gloomy future. In several areas around the globe, including several countries
in south-east Asia, whelks have decreased notably in numbers or have been
totally eradicated. So Sweden does not make the same mistakes, it is important
that regulations guarantee the snails and eventual fishing industry´s
The start of a new fishing industry along the Swedish west coast?
Today, there is no whelk fishing in Sweden.
Whelks are a common "secondary catch" in lobster, crab and crayfish
pots, but are also caught in trawls and other nets. In several countries,
i.e. Japan, Russia, France, Canada and Great Britian, whelk fishing is well
developed and in Sweden there is an increasing interest for this species.
The perspective market is mainly Japan and Korea, which are large consumers
of whelks. To study the results of whelk fishing in Sweden, regulated test
fishing was carried out between 1995-1996.