Whelk fisheries being protected


A recent prosecution by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Sussex IFCA) has shown its commitment to protecting commercial whelk fisheries, the organisation has claimed.

Illegal fishing for under-sized fish and shellfish contributes to the over-exploitation of stocks. It damages the legitimate fishery and puts those people operating legally at a disadvantage. Illegal fishing also hinders recovery of populations and ecosystems.

Sussex IFCA works to stop those who are impacting on honest fishers and on the marine environment.

On Friday, April 22, Sussex IFCA successfully prosecuted Alan and Sean Bacon of Portsmouth for illegally retaining under-sized whelks in September of last year. The crew of the IFCAs Fisheries Patrol Boat ‘Watchful’ had observed and boarded the fishing boat ‘Swordfish’ at sea off the Sussex coast, near Bognor Regis. The inspection revealed quantities of under-sized whelk, which is an offence under European legislation and the Sea Fisheries Act.

The Magistrates Court in Worthing fined Alan Bacon, the owner of Swordfish, £2,300 and Sean Bacon the skipper £3,300.

Sean Ashworth, Deputy Chief of Sussex IFCA, said: “The whelk fishery of Sussex has come under increasing pressure over recent years.

“Impacts from unsustainable practices, such as retaining undersized whelk, will have direct impacts on the recovery of stocks and on the legitimate honest fishers operating in our district.

“It brings us no pleasure to prosecute people, but we must protect our fishery from irresponsible individuals who act criminally.

“We are totally committed to creating sustainable fisheries and protecting the marine environment.

“This prosecution will help will help raise awareness of the damage that a minority can cause.”

Sussex IFCA officers carry out regular patrols at sea aboard its vessels ‘Watchful’ and ‘Merlin’ as well as regular land patrols at the Sussex ports and harbours. It uses a variety of European derived, UK and locally made byelaws to make sure there is a healthy fishery and a healthy environment for now and for future generations.

If you see suspicious fisheries activity then report it to us on admin@sussex-ifca.gov.uk or call 01273 454407.

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