Meet the couple behind Shell on Earth, a sustainable company born out of the desire of husband and wife team Jordan and Caryl Andrews to recycle the crushed whelk shells generated at their family’s seafood processing factory. The business, which has been processing and exporting seafood for over 40 years, is based in New Quay, a picture postcard fishing village in the heart of Cardigan Bay, West Wales.
Cardigan Bay is an SAC or Special Area of Conservation and is home to a resident population of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and grey seals. In fact, Jordan and Caryl see the dolphins almost every day from their office, which overlooks the bay. The area is renowned for its diverse marine wildlife.
Before the factory existed the location was a meeting place for local fishermen and vivier lorries (live holding tanks), where the catches of live crab and lobster were collected and transhipped for sale into Europe. The site quickly evolved and lobster tanks were built enabling larger quantities to be stored before being collected for export. In the late 70s, Johnny Arrow, Jordan’s late grandfather, acquired the lease for the land and the journey began. Johnny was a visionary and soon saw an opportunity to process and vacuum pack whole crabs, and the factory was built.
In the late 90s Jordan’s parents, Dean and Mandy, helped to develop an emerging market for whelks in Asia, and the Welsh whelk made its way into the restaurants and bars of South Korea. Currently in its third generation, they now specialise in processing whelks. The whelks are fished in Welsh waters and caught using traditional pots; meaning minimal damage is caused to the sea floor.
In the summer of 2018 Jordan and Caryl decided to leave their jobs in London, returning to their homeland in West Wales to raise their family and join the family business. After much research and many discussions around the kitchen table with Jordan’s parents, Shell on Earth was conceived.
Shell on Earth launched in May 2019 and their products are now available in plant shops, gift shops and garden centres nationwide. The shells are a great eco-friendly choice for various botanical uses such as; plant pot and terrarium top dressing, garden borders and beds, drainage, paths, driveways and as a natural, gentle weed and pest control.
It's estimated that 5000 tonnes of waste shells are generated in the UK fishing industry every year. Jordan, Caryl and the family are proud to not only reduce their waste output from the factory, but also to help support a circular economy by utilising 100% of the whelks they process.
Working with Welsh Whelks
Words by Jordan & Caryl Andrews | @shell_on_earth
Photographs by Shell on Earth