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 survival.


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.



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