The beam trawler William of Ladram E 33 broke the record for the earnings for an individual boat at Brixham Trawler Agents (BTA) on Wednesday morning of last week by grossing just over £75,000.

Above: William of Ladram broke the port record for Brixham last week. (Photograph courtesy of Mitchell Smith).

William of Ladram achieved the new record after being at sea for seven days in very poor weather, including strong easterly winds. Skipper Patrick Birley had a great trip, landing over 20t of first-class, quality fish, catching 29 different species a mixture of cuttlefish, Dover sole, monkfish, lemon sole, turbot, brill, plaice, pollack, ray, octopus and tub gurnard.

port record

Barry Young of Brixham Trawler Agents.

Speaking to Fishing News, Barry Young, MD of BTA, said: “This is a fantastic achievement, and reflects the hard work and innovative working practices of fishermen in the South West. Over 10 years’ of trialling new gear and fishing methods is now starting to pay dividends, with current stock levels in the Channel making it one of the richest fishing grounds in the world.

“The working relationship BTA has with the fishermen landing to Brixham is very positive, and when we see them breaking records, it feels like a success for everyone; we are delighted for them. They work so hard, and to see that paying off, highlights that their efforts and innovation are worth it, not only in personal terms, but for the benefit of the whole area.”

The William of Ladram is part of what is now the largest fishing fleet in South West England. In January this year, Waterdance Ltd bought out Langdon and Philip Ltd, having already acquired Seafield Emiel Trawlers in 2014. It now has 17 vessels landing into Brixham, Newlyn and Exmouth.

Rowan Carter, managing director of Waterdance, said: “Breaking the port record is not only a testimony to the vessel’s skippers Paddy and Jake, and their excellent crew who work so hard, not only last week but every week, it is also testimony to every fisherman all along the south coast who supports this superb industry. This is the result of many years of stock conservation and gear development, which we are now starting to see the benefits of.

“Hopefully, beating records like this will prove to the youngsters out there that there is still a future in the industry, we often hear doom and gloom from the ‘greens’ and the anti-industry quarters saying there is no fish left in the sea, but that is simply not true, take one look at the West Country fishing industry and you will see a very different thing.”

The family-run business is part of the Greendale Group which operates a number of diverse businesses including fishing, farming, food retailing (, haulage, pubs, hotels, holiday parks, property development and Exmouth Marina. The company is now run by 3rd and 4th generations of the family – brothers Rowan and Robin Carter, along with their sons.

The variety of boats it now owns allows Waterdance to land a wide range of species into Brixham in high volumes. Waterdance Ltd is the fishing branch of the company, and this latest acquisition highlights the importance of this industry to the business, signalling an optimism for the future.

Rowan Carter said: “We are focused on expanding our fishing business and are pleased to strengthen our fleet in Brixham with the purchase of the Langdon and Philip business.

“While looking at potential acquisitions, it soon became apparent there was another business that shared our vision and values for the industry, and an acquisition would enable us to accelerate our growth. With a similar, vertically-integrated business model, sustainability at its heart, sound employee practices, with some of the most modern and efficient vessels, along with a large amount of strategically important quota combined with strong relationships with its skippers and crew, the Langdon and Philip business was a perfect fit for Waterdance.

“The deal will not only have a positive impact on our business but the whole of the local fishing community; it will bring investment, access to new markets, species, and technologies, as well as development opportunities for our existing and future employees. However, one of the most appealing facets of the business was the fact that the all of the existing staff, both land and sea-based, as well as the existing management team, wanted to stay on within in the business after the acquisition.

“Our two companies have been building a working relationship together for more than 15 years, the take-over is the result of that close working relationship, and it shows our intent for the industry, proving that we firmly believe that it has a great and rewarding future in Brixham. The acquisition of Langdon and Philip Ltd represents a significant investment for us, which will allow us to hopefully break many more port records for years to come.

“We know the industry, its capabilities and this acquisition represents a highly attractive investment for us, proving a strong strategic fit for Waterdance.”

Comprehensive Waterdance fleet

Beam trawlers: William of Ladram E 33; Margaret of Ladram E 198; Angel of Ladram BM 55; Sam of Ladram (ex-Lloyd Tyler) BM 188; Barentszee BM 361; Catharina BM 111; Lady Lou BM 110; Kerrie Marie BM 172; Lady Maureen BM 7
Hake netters: Govenek of Ladram PZ 51; Charisma PW 45; Karen of Ladram PW 3; Joy of Ladram E 22
Inshore potters/netters: Becci of Ladram E 508; Becci E 73
Day hauler: Equinox BM 100
Scalloper: Emily J E 123
Whelk boat: Berlewen of Ladram PW 1

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