Shellfish Fisherman of the Year

To be awarded to a UK- or Ireland-based fisherman who has made a clear commitment to shellfish fishing in 2017. Skills, determination, leadership ability and adaptability to changes in today’s industry are all important qualities.


Damian Chapman, Amadeus TH 7

Damian has risen from deckhand to skipper of the 24.5m vivier crabber Amadeus. The original crew moulded him into ‘the best deckhand a skipper could want’. After working his way up on the company’s boats, Damian has been a skipper for over four years, and is described as ‘the best skipper’ the company has. He is highly regarded and is particularly noted for his ability to appreciate, manage and retain happy and motivated crews, to a level that is not often seen.

Ian Fletcher, Rois Mhairi OB 45

Originally from a non-fishing background, Ian went to sea at 16, progressing from cook to skipper, and has worked for John MacAlister for his whole career. He is experienced, focused, forward-looking and a quick learner. He champions best practice and sustainability, and effectively uses social media to promote these. He is a big champion of safety measures too, and has attended the RNLI cold water training. He passes his learnings on to crew and colleagues, and is a real asset to the scallop and wider fishing industry.

James Spencer, Sylvia Bowers DS 8

James has dedicated his whole life to the sea and loves it as much now as when he started. He has a real passion for what he does, which rubs off on his crew. He runs his boat like clockwork, is a good all-round hand, and a ‘fine-thinking man’. Another comment was: ‘I’ve fished with a few skippers over the years and [James] really was hands down the best skipper’. He has a passion for the job like no other, and a wealth of experience.

Alan Steer, Superb Us DH 99

Alan is a legend in the shellfishing world in Devon. He is chairman of Fishing into the Future, a member of the South Devon and Channel Shellfishermen’s Association, has dedicated immense amounts of time and personal effort to forward sustainable shellfishing in the South West. He is interested in training fishermen, takes shellfishing into schools and operates as an ambassador for the industry whenever he can. He’s dedicated years to the industry and is a worthy candidate for this award.

Dominic Welsh, J-Sea E 333

Dominic started crewing on crabbing boats, rapidly becoming part-owner in a Cygnus, before moving onto scalloping boats. He is now the full owner of the J-Sea and another under-15m boat, Scotia. He is very forward-thinking and hardworking, fully determined to succeed in a difficult industry, and has already achieved more than most will at his age. He has a great attitude to the industry, and constantly tries to better himself – upgrading boats or trying new scallop gear – making him a very well-respected, and very good, fisherman.

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