Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Project

Bisset’s Fish Van

Local fish delivered fresh to the doorstep as fisherman boosts the family business through direct sales from FLAG funded van.


Local fisherman James Bisset and his wife Cheryl were looking for ways to add value to their existing commercial fishing business and to include their son in the family business, an experienced fisherman recently returned home from operating one of the tugs during the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing road bridge.

Their new venture encompassed a mobile fish van and a static kiosk based at Dunbar Harbour.  The self-funded fish kiosk sells local seafood and white fish throughout the summer to both locals and tourists and has full support of the Dunbar Harbour Trust, who are keen to show-case the harbour as a community-hub to attract locals and tourists. The Bisset family approached the Forth FLAG for support fitting out and purchasing a newer, more reliable van, with which they could sell premium seafood products to a market that had been identified as seeking sustainable provenance and traceability. The aim was to diversify the business and add reliable income streams, providing additional employment so their son can remain in the family business.  

The new mobile van has an established route, selling door to door in the local area as well as delivering pre-orders. Orders can be made in advance by telephone or through the Facebook page which displays the fresh produce of the day. In addition to his own catch, James sells crabs and lobsters from local boats and white fish from Edinburgh fish market, adding to the variety and reliability of supply. Cheryl has introduced products such as homemade prawn cocktails, fish pie mixes and recipe cards to complement the service.


The van was purchased and fitted out during the summer of 2017 and there are substantial increases expected in the turnover and profit of the business.  A full-time job has already been created, driving the van, delivering the fish and building up the customer base through providing high quality service. And, a further part time job has been created for a person to travel to the Edinburgh fish market each morning to collect the white fish sold on the van.  This will enable James Bisset to continue in his commercial fishing business.


This example is easily transferrable however care should be given to ensure the local hygiene, food handling and labelling regulations are adhered to. Staff with good selling and customer skills are key to engaging and retaining customers on the route.






Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives: 
  • Lessons: The project was more time consuming than first thought and care should be taken to ensure that similar applicants have sufficient time to devote to such projects.  The van purchased was second hand and this made gathering different quotes problematic, as the second-hand market moves quickly.

In terms of connecting with the consumer, having the fisherman selling the fish proved particularly popular, while it also became apparent that there is a need to educate customers that availability will depend on the season and weather conditions.

  • Contribution to CLLD objectives: adding value along the fisheries supply chain


Total project cost €14 134,53
FLAG grant €7 082,26
  • EU contribution (EMFF): €5 311,7
  • Public contribution (national): €1 770,56
Beneficiary contribution €7 082,27

Project information

Période de mise en oeuvre From juin 2017 to aoû 2017
Type de zone

Détails de contact

Contacts du GALPA

Ms. Rosalind McArthur
+44 1835 825117
United Kingdom
Publication date: 
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