A combined passion and enthusiasm for fisheries management led to the creation of VS Fisheries in 2005, when Viv Shears and Simon Scott embarked on their carp farming business.
The following year, the pair joined forces with Sussex farmers Richard and Mark Chandler and the business moved to its existing premises. The farm has continued to grow steadily over the years and is now one of the largest CEFAS authorised carp farms in the UK producing all of its own fish on site.
After graduating from Sparsholt College in 1995 Viv moved into fisheries management as Fisheries Manager with RMC Angling, where he created and stocked many well-known fisheries during his five years in the role. In 2004, he returned to Sparsholt where he lectured for 11 years on fisheries management, practical fisheries construction and fish farming. During his 30 years in fisheries work, he has carried out numerous consultancy projects with customers across the UK and Europe, where he advises on all aspects of fisheries development and management. Having managed numerous fisheries his understanding of practical fishery development, means he can advise customers on realistic stocking plans utilising his sound current technical knowledge, to achieve clients’ goals.
Viv continues to be actively involved in fisheries training through lecturing to various groups, including the hugely successful Colne Valley Fisheries and Conservation Course, that trained over 60 volunteer angling club members. He is also co-founder of the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) that has recycled waste line and plastics from the angling sector since 2018, and in 2023 he became a trustee of ReAP UK, which is a charity that recovers and recycles aquatic plastics from our waterways and coast lines.
As a life-long angler, Viv can be found fishing for a huge variety of fish species from crucians in Surrey, Bass and Blue Fin Tuna along the South Coast, to monster halibut in the fjords of Northern Norway. For him, variety has certainly become the spice of life in terms of his angling... and of course carp farming!
As a very small boy Simon was completely fascinated by water, spending many hours newt and tadpole hunting around an overgrown garden pond! These adventures would frequently result in jars full of desperate amphibians and a little boy covered head to toe in black silt.. not much has changed!
Shortly after his seventh birthday armed with a new fishing rod and a bag of maggots Simon was taken by his father on his first fishing trip. One silvery rudd later and a lifelong passion for fishing was born.
Having successfully graduated from Sparsholt College Simon moved to the University of Plymouth to undertake a Master of Science Degree in Applied Fish Biology.
After working in fisheries consultancy Simon headed back to Sparsholt College as a lecturer within the Fisheries Department, a post he held for 20 years. During his time at Sparsholt he was involved in many fascinating projects, including netting many of the country’s top fisheries and spawning large numbers of carp from sources as varied as Redmire Pool, North Harrow Waltonians and Sutton-at-Hone.
Simon who remains a mad keen carp angler is retained as a consultant by Korda, the Essex based tackle giants and by Baitworks, the Cotswold bait manufacturer. Additionally over the last decade he has presented and co-presented a number of television shows including Thinking Tackle, Carp Crew and Predators, amongst others. Simon continues to work as a fishery consultant and manages several private ponds.
Richard and Mark Chandler
Richard and Mark are a farming father and son team, from a long established farming family. Both have an amazing understanding of the land and how to get the best from it.
Producing fish on the farm all started when Richard reinstated some dilapidated ponds back in 1998 as his millenium project to improve the aquatic habitat and biodiversity on the farm.
Richard has a passion for creating beautiful ponds and using his extensive knowledge of the hydrology within the soil, he has made very good use of unproductive farmland turning it into a stunning fish farm location and hugely benefitting the natural environment. His knowledge of traditional livestock husbandry is put to great effect daily and his continued drive to expand our waters has been key to the growth of the business over the last 10 years.
Richard and Mark's involvement in VS Fisheries is essential in terms of understanding the land on which the ponds sit, as well as their management of our multiple sites. With over 100 years experience between them, this sort of local knowledge and hands on experience is incredibly hard to replace.
They run a diverse and immaculate farming operation that covers some 3000 acres and are pasionate about the land, the future of farming and the production of food (and fish!) in the UK.
We are very fortunate to have a great team here at VS Fisheries. Will Newman joined us full time in 2022, having spent several years supporting us during the winter harvests.
More recently, Will has been joined by Toby Moore, who came to us as a seasonal woker for the harvest season from Sparsholt College. He has finished his studies now and has been a great addition to the team.
Sue Scott has been heavily involved since day one and works in all aspects of the farm. Most importantly, she is Simon’s right hand-man and stress coach throughout the spawning process!
We are also joined by seasonal staff during the long winter period when we drain, harvest and deliver our carp to their new homes.