Whelk Management


An emergency whelk byelaw is currently in place in Eastern IFCA’s district. The byelaw means that it is necessary to have a permit to remove whelk from the fishery.

Aims of the measures
The aims of the measures are:

  • To prevent further significant increases in effort
  • To reduce the removal of pre-spawning whelk
  • To gather information to gauge how much effort the whelk fisheries can sustain in the long term

Categories of permit and what they allow you to catch
Two categories of permit are available:

  • Category One Permit – allows fishers to target whelk on a commercial scale. These will be granted at a cost of 50p per pot (up to 500)
  • Category Two Permit (recreational) – allows recreational fishers to target whelk on a small scale for personal consumption. These will be granted at a cost of £5 per pot (up to 5 pots).

Conditions of the permits
Conditions are attached to each permit, which must be adhered to. The key emergency measures are as follows:

  • Pot limitations: The maximum number of pots a fisher may deploy are 500 for a Category One permit and 5 for a Category Two Permit (recreational)
  • Pot tags: All whelk pots must be tagged with a tag provided by the Authority
  • Escape holes: All whelk pots must have two escape holes of 24mm in diameter
  • Minimum landing size: This is increased to 55mm in length
  • Riddle/sorting gear: All whelk must be sorted for size using a riddle with a minimum bar spacing of 24mm and all whelk rejected in this way must be returned to the sea immediately
  • Catch returns: permit holders must submit completed catch returns forms (which will be supplied by Eastern IFCA) on the 5th day of each month
  • Gear marking: Each string or shank of pots must be marked by a floating dhan at the North or Western end of the fleet to indicate its general direction and a high visibility buoy at the other end. No lights or radar reflector will be required.

How to apply for a permit
To apply for a whelk permit please use one of the forms below. Category 1 permits are for those fishers who wish to target whelks at a commercial scale and you can apply for up to 500 pots. A Category 2 permit is for those fishers who wish to target whelks recreationally (i.e. for their own consumption) and you can apply for up to five pots under this permit.

Processing applications will take up to 5 working days – this may be longer if application forms are incomplete. Once we have processed a completed application form and full payment has been received (charges are set out below) pot and dahn tags will be ordered. Tags will take 7 to 10 days to arrive at the Eastern IFCA offices.

  • Category 1 permit – 50p per pot up to 500 pots (minimum charge of £50)
  • Category 2 permit – £5 per pot up to 5 pots (no minimum charge)

Tags and permits can then be picked up from the Eastern IFCA offices or you can request to have them sent to you.

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