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Commercial Whelk Fishing Out Of Whitby

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I often enjoy a walk around town during the summer. One of my favorite times is through the evening which is a simply awesome time to walk around the harbour and take in all the sights, sounds and amazing smells such as fish and chips or smoke from the kipper house.

On a recent walk, as I had just crossed the bridge, I observed a trawler coming down the harbour and then getting ready to head off to sea.

Never one to miss an opportunity I snapped away with the camera and god some rather pleasing shots of the boats crew getting ready to head to sea for a few days fishing.

Scarborough Whelk Fishermen Getting ready to Fish Out Of Whitby.
Scarborough Whelk Fishermen Getting ready to Fish Out Of Whitby.

The boat pulled in on the fish quay and started to load up with boxes of boiled crab, all frozen. This was quite a strange sight to me as I have observed most types of fishing methods used out of Whitby but had never heard of anyone using boiled crab as bait. I suspected they might be crab or lobster fishermen but there was no sign of any pots on the boat.

Puzzled I asked one of the ships crew what they were fishing for and he kindly explained they were to be fishing for whelks using small 5 gallon drums as pots, as shown below. Each pot is baited with boiled crab, The whelks then climb in and are unable to climb out again.

Whelk Fishermen At Whitby
Whelk Fishermen At Whitby. Whelks Crawl Into The Trap And Are Unable To Escape.

So that’s a new one one on me, Ive never heard of anyone purposefully targeting whelks at Whitby, but I guess if there’s a market for an item there is always someone willing to supply that market.

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6 comments

  1. GLEN I GO TO FOLKESTONE REGULAR AND THERE ARE FIVE BOATS AND ALL THEY DO IS WHELK FISHING AT £4 A PINT THERES MONEY IN WHELKS.

  2. David Winspear

    Nice pics Glen. The “Genesis Rose” is Bridlington based I think and probably whelking down that way.
    A few Whitby vessels have tried whelking over the years. As I recall the shells were heavier on the Whitby grounds for some reason. This means that the meat yield is lower per tonne and consequently it is a less profitable fishery than further down the coast.
    The main market for the whelks is The Far East so weight/transport costs are a significant factor.

  3. Glenn Kilpatrick

    Thanks David. Mark Cole was saying on The Whitby Boats Facebook Page that this boat is working off The Humber. It had been in Whitby for a repaint at Parkol. They were apparently taking on bait before sailing south.

  4. once again making comments when knowledge is next to none. It does however make a change from calling Whitby trawlers and fishermen

    • Glenn Kilpatrick

      Being a bell end usual Peter, no change there then. For the record The only fishermen I slag off are those who fish Illegal. Play by the rules no problem to me whatsoever, Take hundreds of thousands of pounds of illegally caught black fish then I will slag you off and rightfully so.

  5. The Genesis Rose is based in Bridlington and fish for crab/lobster and whelks
    she had just completed a full paint up at Parkol Marine.
    the pots aren’t visible as they are in the sea
    Good pictures

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