The old days & the story behind Welsh Seafoods
Milford Haven Docks & Fishing Industry
In 1874 the port was given a belated boost with the formation of the Milford Docks Company (the docks were not completed for another 14 years). The docks were adapted to the requirements of the fishing industry; ice factories, fish market and smoke-houses were built, and Milford grew to be one of the chief fishing ports of Britain.
The landing of sixty thousand tons of fish in 1946 was the highest recorded, however, after surviving World War II, it went into severe decline from the late 1950s onwards. Today the ‘Fisherman Statue’ on the promenade reminds the public of the significance of the fishing industry and lives that have been lost over the years.
Walter Davies & Sons was founded in 1928 during the hay day of Milford fishing industry by Chris’ grandfather, to supply locally landed fish to fish & chip shops, fish mongers and restaurants within South Wales. Chris’ father, Nyall, then joined the company in the early 1950’s. Nyall opened a branch of the company in Fleetwood, primarily to source products for their customers in South Wales. It wasn’t long before Walter Davies & Sons expanded, supplying customers throughout the UK, Europe and even supplying local line caught Bass to outlets as far away as Hong Kong.
Over recent years the Milford haven fleet has shrunk due to changes in the quota system meaning the company had to look further a field to supplement local landings. Customers now prefer to have a large variety of fresh fish and shell fish to choose from, therefore, to meet consumer demands the company now source worldwide, e.g. Mahi-Mahi and Tuna from the Indian Ocean, Sea Bass and Bream from the Mediterranean and Thread Fin Bream and King Clip from the Pacific Ocean.
Even though, Walter Davies & Sons has ceased trading the Davies family is proud to be part of the newly established Welsh Seafoods, which is now one of the largest fish merchants in West Wales buying directly from local fishing vessels.
Chris has developed a strong relationship with the local fishermen who land their catch into Milford Haven and the small ports across West Wales. Sean’s boats are the only remaining large trawlers, with the majority of boats classed as inshore, under xxm. These smaller day boats are catching a range of seafood from xxx. In addition, there are a number of potters catching lobster and crab and over the next few months Welsh Seafoods will be developing a new vivier unit to store live shellfish.
Welsh Seafoods is committed to supporting the local fleet and developing a sustainable route to market for the wide range of delicious seafood caught in Welsh waters