SAY whelk-ome to a crustacean revival at Dorset Seafood Festival.

The annual festival celebrating everything that’s great about Dorset’s seafood is hoping to elevate the humble whelk in the eyes of culinary connoisseurs.

This year’s Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, which will be held on July 12-13, is launching the Great British Whelk Revival to encourage people to welcome back the whelk into our diet.

Figures from the Marine Management Organisation show that in 2013 a huge 722 tons of whelks were landed in Weymouth Harbour, making it the third biggest whelk port in England and Wales with a value of £545K.

Most would then be exported to Europe but recently the industry has seen an increasing demand from further afield in countries like Korea.

Seafood festival bosses said the fishing industry is important to Weymouth.

Event Director, Brian Cooper said: “We need to highlight this amazing source of whelks on our doorstep.

“The UK lands over 10,000 tonnes of whelks each year but about 95 percent are exported to the Far East. “Plentiful, low in calories, high in protein and containing over 10 times the amount of vitamin B12 than beef, whelks should be back on British menus and flying off fishmongers’ counters.”

Essentially a sea snail, whelks are delicious in a stir fry or sautéed with a little garlic butter and parsley which is why the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival has teamed up with seafood loving chefs to raise the profile of this tasty mollusc. Taher Jibet, chef at the Dining Room restaurant in Weymouth, will be spearheading the festival’s whelk revival and encouraging people to ‘love a whelk.’ He will be creating different recipes and giving people ideas of how to cook their whelks- including using Tabasco sauce.

There will also be a whelkdome with demos, educational talks and whelk shell painting for children. The festival is now in its seventh year and will again be raising money for the charity Fishermen’s Mission.