The Secret Life of Whelks


Shared on behalf of 41°N, Rhode Island’s Ocean and Coastal Magazine, a publication of Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island.

by Rudi Hempe
Photos by Melissa Devine

“Underwater, whelks are slow moving sea snails that like to pry open and devour quahogs. They are also the unlikely focus of a campaign by an energetic woman who catches them for a living to protect her chosen occupation.”

“Katie Eagan is a whelk fisherman, or as she and most of the other 200 – plus whelk fishermen in Rhode Island prefer to call themselves, a “conch fisherman,” even though the larger and quite different conchs live in far warmer waters down South.”

“At age 30, Eagan has fallen in love with a job that requires her to get up at dawn seven days a week to cruise parts of Narragansett Bay harvesting creatures that end up on plates in Asia and in the popular “snail salad” state side.”

Check out the full article here