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Explains the reasoning for the way we are managing the whelk fishery in the Welsh zone.

Part of:
First published:
13 December 2021
Last updated:


In Wales whelk support a high value fishery with:

  • landings in the range of 3500-7000 tonnes each year, and
  • an estimated first sale value of £4- £8M

Staged increases in the whelk minimum landing size:

  • from 45mm to 55mm in 2019, and
  • from 55mm to 65mm in 2020

have allowed more whelk to breed before being captured.

We recently introduced further management measures to safeguard the stock and the environment. These include adaptive management to ensure the long term sustainability of the fishery.

This guide explains the new whelk management measures and how we will manage the fishery.

Whelk permits

From 1 March 2022, you will need a permit to fish commercially for whelks with pots using a powered vessel. We will issue the permits with conditions which can be varied from time to time to safeguard the stock.

Permit period: 1 March 2022 to 28 February 2023

Annual Catch Limit (ACL): 5,298 tonnes

This is the total amount of whelk which can be taken by all permitted vessels combined, during a permit period.

Flexible Monthly Catch Limit (MCL)


Catch limit


50 tonnes

April 50 tonnes
May 50 tonnes
June 50 tonnes
July 50 tonnes
August 50 tonnes
September 50 tonnes

This is the maximum amount of whelk each permitted vessel can take in a given month. All permitted vessels will get the same MCL, which will be updated here each month.

We will use the MCL to ensure the ACL is not exceeded. This will also ensure that the benefit of the fishery is spread across the permit period in line with historical fishing patterns(See Whelk fishery - methodology used to calculate catch limits Figure 2 & Figure 3 on page 12 &13)

Total Catch Landed: 2950 tonnes 

This is the total whelk landed so far in this permit period.


Whelk fishery: guidance 2022 to 2023 
This explains how we will manage the whelk fishery in the Welsh zone.


Apply for a permit to fish for whelks with pots in the Welsh Zone

  • you will need vessel details including fishing licence number
  • you must complete an application form for each vessel you wish to fish

Submit your whelk permit monthly catch return

  • you should fill in the form and submit it by 23:59 on the last day of each month.

Request a change to the vessel on a permit to fish for whelks

  • you will need vessel details including fishing licence number

If you have problems with any of these forms, please contact us:

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.




The Whelk Fishing Permit (Wales) Order 2021 
Makes provision for a permitting regime to fish for whelk with pots in the Welsh zone from 1 March 2022.

The Whelk Fishing (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2019

The Whelk Fishing (Wales) Order 2019 
Make provision for a minimum catch, carriage and landing size of 65mm in the Welsh zone.



Your data

Whelk fishery: privacy notice 
Explains how we use the data you have provided to us.