Boat Stories - Fishing for Clovelly herring

Fishing for Clovelly Herring follows traditional herring fisherman, Stephen Perham, as he rows out into Bideford Bay before dawn to shoot his nets. He explains his personal crusade to try and revive the local, sustainable herring fishery and get more people eating Clovelly herring.

Filmed & edited by Simon Vacher
Sound assistant Oscar Adams
Music performed by Rakes Adrift with thanks to The Waterboys for use of Fisherman’s Blues
Directed & produced by Jo Stewart-Smith
With thanks to
Northern Devon FLAG, Bideford Bridge Trust, Tarka Trust, Clovelly Estate.

This short film is part of the North Devon Moving Image (NDMI) Boat Stories series of short films about boats and fishing in North Devon. You can find out more about the project on the Boat Stories website

To see more short films from NDMI visit

Boat Stories

I was approached by north Devon based freelance writer/producer Jo Stewart-Smith in 2013 to co-film and edit a series of ten short films commissioned by North Devon Moving Image. The theme was to document people whose lives revolve around fishing and working boats in northern Devon.

The stories are told by the people: those who own, skipper, crew or row boats themselves. So no presenter or studio recorded voice over to fill in the gaps – we film out on boats, record out on location and go with what we get.

The result is a lively series of films with an amazing energy as each film takes you on a new adventure. Martin Hesp of Western Morning News wrote of our second film salmon netting, which I filmed, “in telling their story, this documentary is as charming, colourful and fascinating a film as any shot in the region for years.”  

The commission for me had come in between filming Britain’s Treasure Islands. This meant I had to juggle several big projects at once, both of which required carefully thinking through camera equipment and a high level of skill shooting in challenging conditions. Getting not only great images, but sound from multiple radio microphones at once without the budget for a sound-man was one of the biggest challenges, including sea-sickness.

For the earlier part of the project I filmed with a Sony PMW-200, but then later on the Sony FS7.