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In focus: whelk exporting

Every year, around 20,000 chewy tonnes of whelks are hauled from the seas around the UK. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to eat them.

Based on the latest Q3 2017 survey by the British Food and Drink Federation, South Korea is one of the UK’s fastest-growing food export markets by value – worth £233.2m, up 54.6% for the period from January to September 2017. Since the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement was ratified in 2015, exports of shellfish, beer and butter have all increased dramatically.

South Korea has now been the UK’s tenth-biggest export market by value for seafood two years running in 2015-16 (Seafood Industry Overview, Seafish.org). There is a robust appetite for UK products like crab and mackerel, but whelk meat makes up over 70% of UK seafood exports to South Korea.