There is a significant fishery, which uses traps, for common whelks. The majority of the whelks are exported to the far east. Masses of lentil shaped eggs are often found attached to subtidal rocks, stones or shells. Empty egg masses, known as 'sea wash balls', are often found on the strandline and are sometimes mistaken for sponges. Buccinum undatum
may be confused with the red whelk Neptunea antiqua
. Neptunea antiqua
does not have the coarse ribbing of Buccinum undatum
and is not edible.