Project manager calls on better gillying education in Wells

Joe Granger from Wells-next-the-Sea witnessed what he called cruel and clueless people around the town’s quay catching crabs

Joe Granger from Wells-next-the-Sea witnessed what he called cruel and clueless people around the town’s quay catching crabs. - Credit: Joe Granger

A project manager has called for better education of gillying rules on a Norfolk quay after being shocked by people’s treatment of crabs.

Joe Granger from Wells-next-the-Sea witnessed what he called "cruel and clueless" people around the town’s quay catching crabs, - known locally as gillying.

He said he saw people putting the crabs in overfilled buckets, with little space or water and putting them in the direct sunlight.

The 38-year-old, who moved to Wells last August to project lead the first stage of the lifeboat station redevelopment, said he visited the quay with his family over the weekend and was far from pleased by what he saw.

He believes there is a lack of education on the correct way of gillying.

Gillying for crabs at Wells quayside. Picture: Colin Finch

Gillying for crabs at Wells quayside. Picture: Colin Finch - Credit: Colin Finch


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“Their bucket was like a mass grave, just layers of crabs with a dribble of water,” he said.

“I kept looking over but I eventually said to them, you cannot do that, can you not see the crabs at the bottom are not moving? You need to tip them out and start again, you are going to end up killing them all.”

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He said that the families child started plucking crabs out of the bucket by the leg and flinging them off the quay.

He added this was the straw that broke the camel's back and prompted him to say something about it.

“I generally keep myself to myself, but I felt inclined to say something, they were either being lazy or couldn't be bothered to research best practices."

An iconic view of the quayside in Wells. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The view of the quayside in Wells - Credit: Archant

Mr Granger took to Facebook to post the ‘crabbing code’, offering some key rules, including one bucket per line, and making sure you top up their water.

A woman named Susan commented on this, saying how she used to work as a ‘gillying helper’ in the town.

He is now calling on someone to step up into this role to help around the town.

“I'd love to do it, but I have my job and unfortunately I am leaving Wells soon. You never know; if I had the chance to retire here I would love to stand by the quay,” he said.

"It has to be someone local who loves their gillying, wants to step up and pass on their valuable knowledge.”

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