Whelk Management Group — Seafish

Whelk Management Group

The Whelk Management Group (WMG) focuses on the management of the UK whelk fishery to ensure its long-term sustainability.

WMG work programme

The WMG is working towards the implementation of national-level strategic management for the UK whelk fishery.

As part of its formative work programme the WMG will:

  • identify and review current measures used to manage whelk fisheries;
  • identify knowledge gaps
  • explore opportunities to improve the science and data behind the fishery’s management

Resources for whelk fishing

On behalf of the Whelk Management Group, Professor Michel J. Kaiser of Heriot-Watt University has prepared guidance on handling whelks. This document is available to download from the link below.

WMG membership and support

The WMG is an industry-led group which brings together stakeholders from across the whelk supply chain. Its membership includes representatives from:

  • government
  • academia
  • fishermen’s associations
  • producers organisations
  • active whelk fishermen

We are supporting the group by providing:

  • an independent chair and secretariat
  • bespoke economic analyses
  • communications support

Background to WMG formation

The UK whelk fishery has expanded in recent years as growth in foreign markets led to increased prices. This led to an increase in the number of vessels actively targeting whelks in the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ.) Despite the increased fishing effort, landings of whelks have remained relatively stable. This has led to concerns about the fishery’s long-term sustainability.

The decision to form a group to focus on the management of the UK whelk fishery was taken in 2019. A key driver for this was discussions at the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries conference in October. Following the event there was an increased interest in considering how best to co-manage inshore fisheries. The Shellfish Industry Advisory Group (SIAG) then identified a need to bring together key stakeholders to focus on specific species including whelks.

The formation of the WMG is a vital first step towards improved management of this commercially important fishery. 

Whelk Management Group meeting minutes

Further information

Find out more about other shellfish management groups:

Find out more about other developments in UK inshore fisheries management:


If you have questions about the Whelk Management Group contact:

Lewis Tattersall
Head of Fisheries Management
07970 154 238