Safeguarding the welfare of our fishermen to sustain a healthy and profitable profession


Safeguarding the welfare of our fishermen to sustain a healthy and profitable profession

SWFPO supports a highly productive catching sector, consisting of over 40 vessels and employing around 190 fishermen from the UK and abroad.

The SWFPO fleet is extremely diverse using different methods of fishing and sizes of vessels to catch and land the highest quality fish and shellfish from around the UK. The vessels within our fleet range in size from 10 metres to just over 40 metres, using a variety of fishing techniques appropriate to the grounds they fish and target species.

A lot of work has been done to date within SWFPO to improve gear selectivity and reduce unwanted bycatches.

With a growing green agenda, we are now looking to address the impact that our fleet has on the wider marine environment, beyond the catch, while still allowing the industry to remain profitable.

Fishing can be a dangerous occupation, so promoting safe working practices and training of our fishermen is also vital to enable the SWFPO to function successfully.

Our fleet

Beam trawlers







Osprey BA.4 (71)





Fleet facts

  • The majority of our members hold their own quota, with a small number fishing against a ‘pool’ managed centrally by us.
  • Many of our member vessels are solely or part-owned by vertically integrated companies with their own processing facilities.
  • SWFPO fleet employs over 180 crew from the UK and abroad
  • The majority of our landings are made into Brixham, Plymouth and Shoreham.
  • Our fleet of over 40 10+ metre vessels is based mainly in the English Channel ports, but also from Fleetwood, Jersey, Milford Haven in Wales, and Kircudbright, Dumfries and Peterhead in Scotland.

Safety and training

Commercial fishing is the most dangerous profession in the UK, so we take fishermen’s welfare very seriously.

Training our fishermen and supporting safe working practices are vital, as is recruiting and retaining a healthy workforce.

  • we support people looking to start a career on a commercial fishing vessel
  • we support our members and their crews to maintain safe working practices, including ILO 188 compliance
  • we enhance members and crews career prospects, retaining valuable experience within the fishing industry
  • we improve our members’ knowledge, skills and qualifications above and beyond the minimum legal requirements




If you are a vessel owner, we can help you recruit, train and retain the best crew.

We can help you and your crew access the right training, and any available funding.

Looking for a career move or next role in commercial fishing? Find out what’s involved and search the latest jobs in our fleet.

Economic viability

Operating a commercial fishing vessel can be a costly business, with fuel prices being one of the biggest expenses.  Fishing businesses are in a unique position as price takers and do not have the option of increasing fish prices themselves to cover inflation.

Here at the SWFPO we engage in scientific and technical campaigns aimed at improving fuel efficiency. Campaigns that will lead to significant cost savings whilst also lowering carbon emissions.

We also actively promote assistance and training in running a fishing business, offered by a trusted network of external training companies.

“As the most significant and influential PO on scallop matters in England, it is critical that we are members of the SWFPO and support the PO as it seeks to develop practical and sustainable management systems for king scallops and other fisheries in the Channel. SWFPO is thought of in government circles as a practical and constructive group and a strong voice for the scallop sector”

Andrew Brown, Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs


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