About Us

Serving the interests of fisherman since 1974

Our history

SWFPO was established by vessel owners in 1974 to represent the interests of commercial fishermen across the South West of England.

From our early beginnings navigating the newly-established Common Market fishing regulations to the present day, the SWFPO is proud to act as the voice of its members.

We continue to lobby for the best operating conditions for our fishermen and the commercial fishing industry at large.

We are a respected and trusted partner; an important conduit between industry and governments, scientists and compliance agencies, locally, nationally and internationally.

Who we are

SWFPO is an officially recognised body set up by fishermen to act for fishermen. We are one of 10 fish producer organisations operating in England.

Originally SWFPO members came from both Devon and Cornwall, prior to the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation forming in 1975.

Today, SWFPO has over 40 member vessels based along the south coast of England, in Wales, and as far as Peterhead in Scotland.

Vessels in our members’ fleet range from 10 metres to 40 metres in length, and use a variety of fishing techniques: beam trawls, trawls, scallop dredges, whelk pots and fixed nets.

Target species are Dover sole, lemon sole, monkfish, plaice, gurnards, turbot and brill as part of a true mixed fishery; sprats, King and Queen scallops and cuttlefish.

13,500 tonnes of fish were sold by SWFPO members in 2021, generating a first sale value of £24 million.

We are a respected and trusted partner; an important conduit between industry and governments, scientists and compliance agencies, locally, nationally and internationally.

What we do

Our role is to support a highly productive catching sector, with a membership committed to the sustainable management of fish stocks in the waters around the UK and adjacent EU.

We represent members’ interests at the highest level and proactively manage their reputations and that of the wider industry.

We help maximise the economic viability of our member fleet whilst safeguarding fishermen’s welfare. We promote sustainable fishing activities to protect stocks and secure members’ access to markets and their ongoing profitability. We also strive to reduce the environmental impact of fishing.

Management of fish quotas became the mainstay of fisheries conservation following the introduction of European regulations in 1983. Strict penalties for non-compliance began to apply, with annual allocations including quota deductions from the coming years’ allocations.

Today SWFPO manages over 50 stocks on behalf of our members, for which specific quotas are set. We monitor individuals’ quota uptake and facilitate domestic and international quota swaps as required.

Our Objectives

  • act as a conduit between industry and governments, scientists and compliance agencies locally, nationally and internationally
  • promote sustainable fishing activities in order to protect stocks and secure access to markets
  • maximise fleet profitability whilst safeguarding fishermen’s welfare
  • reduce the environmental impact of fishing whilst allowing the industry to remain profitable


48 vessels


24 members

182 crew

How we're run

We are run for and by our members.

All SWFPO business is led by a democratically elected committee drawn from our membership. Juliette Hatchman was appointed as Chief Executive in 2021 to oversee operations and represent the interests of the SWFPO to external bodies.

The committee ensures our organisation is run in a non-discriminatory and democratic manner. Raising members’ issues and concerns and holding our Chief Executive to account.

It meets bi-monthly with additional ad-hoc meetings for specific business. Any member is welcome to attend committee meetings as an observer, by appointment of the Chair. Key committee decisions are communicated to all members following each meeting.

The SWFPO Committee currently comprises of the following vessel owners, skippers and vessel owner representatives:

Bill Brock, Leach Fishing
John King, West Coast Sea Products
Claire Pescod, Macduff Shellfish (Scotland) Ltd
John Denbow, JFD Trawlers Ltd
Andrew Brown, Macduff Shellfish (Scotland) Ltd
Sean Irvine, JFD Trawlers Ltd
Mike Sharp, vessel owner
Tony Berry, vessel owner
Dave Langdon, vessel owner
Julian Blewitt, vessel owners representative
Derek Meredith, vessel owner
Stuart King, West Coast Sea Products

Members can propose themselves or other members for election to the SWFPO Committee at our AGM, in line with SWFPO rules.


16,185 tonnes of fish, generating first sale value of £28m


by value attributed to non-quota species


by value attributed to quota species

Core team

“We have found the benefits of being a member of the SWFPO are that we often have a heads up of what’s coming in terms of new regulations etc. The PO works proactively on behalf of the catching sector in the ever-changing fishing world with its seemingly never ending list of challenges. At Coombes, we rely heavily on the expertise and knowledge of the SWFPO, our partners and shore based managers.”

James Spear, Director

Get in touch

We are your voice and we want to hear from you.

We welcome your questions and concerns at any time, as well as your suggestions on what we can do to effectively support your work and grow your business.