A FISHERMAN was slapped with a £5,000 fine for breaching the law on whelk fishing.

Sussex fishery police officers boarded Alan Bacon’s vessel BJ P950 twice in two days after catching the boat breaching laws designed to protect whelks.

Sussex Inshore Fishery Conservation Authority staff first boarded the boat off the coast of Littlehampton on January 21.

When one official asked to inspect the boat’s fishing gear, skipper Sean Bacon refused to haul it in.

But the officers soon found the vessel was breaching whelk laws, including using “illegal” whelk pots without escape holes for younger whelks.

Fishery officers then caught the same vessel breaching the law off the coast of Selsey a day later and launched a prosecution against the Bacons.

The Argus: Officers seized 'illegal' whelk fishing equipment from the vesselOfficers seized 'illegal' whelk fishing equipment from the vessel

Appearing at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on July 10, vessel owner Alan Bacon pleaded guilty to five counts of breaching the Shellfish Permit Byelaw on January 21 and January 22.

The 55-year-old of Washbrook Road, Portsmouth, also pleaded guilty to one count of failing to comply with a fishery officer on January 21. He was fined £5,000.

Skipper Sean Bacon, 34, pleaded guilty to intentionally obstructing an officer by failing to haul in fishing gear for inspection on January 21. Bacon, of Bredenbury Crescent, Portsmouth, was fined £2,500.

Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority deputy chief Sean Ashworth said waters “must be protected” from individuals who disregard the rules.

“Impacts from unsustainable practices will have direct impacts on the recovery of stocks and responsible fishers,” he said.