Return of Seeking Saltwater

As the lively summer season for Surfability UK CIC is drawing to a close, activities for the team here at HQ are starting to return to business as usual. Happily for our little Surfability Blog, the turning of the season brings with it the return of Seeking Saltwater. In this week’s blog, we’ll be learning about whelks.

So, some of you dear readers may already be familiar with the whelk. For those of you who are not, we’re delighted to introduce the trusty sea snail- aka the whelk. Britannica.com define the whelk as “any marine snail of the family Buccinidae (subclass Prosobranchia of the class Gastropoda) or snail having a similar shell”. (Try to shout that three times loud on your next wipe out!)

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Image by MabelAmber

As carnivorous sea dwelling creatures who mainly rely on their sense of smell to get them around, whelks are probably the stuff of many a marine nightmare. Able to grow endless rounds of terrifying teeth that are strong enough to cut through shells and flesh alike, these predatory snails then throw enzymes onto their prey and continue to eat them alive. Fortunately though, we haven’t found any reports of humans killed or critically injured by attacks from whelks (and yes, we did decide to check!).

While Whelks are edible, and in some parts of the world considered a delicacy and an aphrodisiac, it is rare to find whelks on the menu in the UK today. Despite being abundantly available and considered sustainable, 95% of the whelks landed in the UK are still destined for the Far East.

Would you fancy eating a whelk? Have you already sampled this unsung British delicacy? Do you have a pet whelk? We’d love to know about your experiences of the whelk!

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