Following a public consultation in 2017 seeking views on the future management of Welsh whelk fisheries, the Welsh government has announced a package of management measures, developed in conjunction with key stakeholders, to ensure the long term sustainability of the whelk fishery.
Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, announced that a new Welsh Whelk Statutory Instrument will come into force in spring 2019.
This will include phased increase in the size at which whelks can be retained and landed, from 45mm to 65 mm. This increase will occur in two parts with an immediate increase to 55mm from the date the Statutory Instrument comes into force, moving to 65mm a year from the date the order comes into force. This is intended to ensure protection of immature whelks and enable them to develop and, in time, recruit to the fishery.
A cap of 20 tonnes per vessel per month from January to September each year will be introduced, applicable to all vessels fishing in Welsh waters.
A monthly cap of five tonnes per vessel will apply to all vessels fishing in Welsh waters during the biologically sensitive period from October to December each year, aimed at protecting the breeding whelk stocks.
This package of measures will work towards ensuring adequate protection of Welsh whelk stocks and the long term sustainability of the whelk fishery and the communities it supports.