Brixham Fish Market Tours

Since anyone can remember Brixham fishermen have sold their catch via a “shout auction” with an auctioneer taking bids from fish buyers who represent wholesalers, fish merchants and restaurant owners. The highest bid bringing home the fish.

Over the past few years new technology has slowly been introduced making a positive impact on the operation of the auction. On 4 June 2019 the new web based clock auction was introduced – the first in the world. Although this has made the market a little quieter there is still plenty of fish to see on the market floor.

The Fish Market Tours take place whilst the online auction is in progress providing you with a not-to-be-missed experience.


Take a Look
Behind the Scenes

Early risers won’t want to miss the opportunity to get a fascinating insight into behind the scenes operations at England’s largest fish market.

You will witness the operational side of the daily fish auction process, rub shoulders with up to 40 different species of fish, get an insight into how this fascinating process works, gain an understanding of what’s involved in getting the fish from sea to plate, learn about trawlers, and finish off the morning with a delicious fish breakfast at Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish restaurant, situated right next door.

You can book a fantastic tour throughout the holiday period by logging on and booking online through The Rockfish Fish Market Tour. The tours are very popular and with only 20 people on each session, we recommend that you book well in advance.

Please be aware that we are unable to accommodate wheelchairs or children under the age of 14.

“University of Plymouth’s Ocean Science and Marine Conservation students were given a fantastic tour of Brixham Fish Market. We had the opportunity to explore all the species of fish, watch the auctions, and learn how the boats work.

Thank you for having us and I am already looking forward to bringing next year’s students.”

Abigail McQuatters-Gollop,
Lecturer in Marine Conservation, University of Plymouth


The Pre-Tour Routine

Prior to the tour, you will be met at 6.15am outside the fish market gates, at the blue tower in front of the Rockfish restaurant.  You will then be taken up to Brixham Trawler Agents (BTA) offices to be kitted out with protective equipment (white coats, boot covers and a hair net).

Tour guides will introduce themselves and provide you with an overview of BTA, its role in the operation of the fish market, and answer any questions you may have. You will then be escorted down to the fish market floor.

Please note: the fish market is a refrigerated area so be sure to wear warm clothing.

The Tour

Collecting the sold fish at Brixham Fish Auction for distribution

Main Market Area

You will start off in the main market area where the prime fish, landed by the beam trawler fleet, is sold. You will be given an explanation of how the fish are sorted and graded, how the grading machine works, and information regarding traceability of the catch.

Transferring the fish sold at Brixham Fish Auction to the buyers fish boxes

Quality of Catch

Moving on from the graders your tour guide will explain how the quality of the catch impacts on the price and the processes BTA have put in place to ensure quality is maintained.

Information regarding the species, quantity and price of fish is displayed on labels on the fish boxes, and your guide will explain how this is helpful for fish buyers as they decide what fish to purchase.

Scallops bought at Brixham Fish Auction

Exploring the Fish Market

You’ll then have an opportunity to explore the fish market, walk around and see the different species up close, take photographs and ask more questions. Just make sure you don’t get too close to the claws of some of the larger crabs!

The next stage will be moving into the day boat market where the catch landed by the day boat trawlers is laid out and you will be able to see the differences in the type of fish landed and available to buy on the market.

And last but not least


Your guide will then walk you through to the quayside and provide an explanation of the different fishing boats we have in Brixham and how they operate, the role of the crew and the services BTA provide to support the fleet.

There may even be a chance to see some grey seals which often frequent the harbour side!

At the end of the tour at 08:00 you will head off to Rockfish for a delicious seafood breakfast. 

Tour Dates for 2024

March 27
April 3, 10
May 8, 15, 22
June 5, 12, 26
July 10, 17, 31
August 7, 14, 21, 28
September 4, 11
October Seafood Coast tours to be advised

The tour starts at 06.15 with breakfast served at Rockfish at 08.00

Book your tour online through

Please be aware that we are unable to accommodate wheelchairs or children under the age of 14yrs.
The tour covers a large market and is all on foot. Please only book if you are fit and capable of being on your feet for a two hours.

Other things to be aware of:

  • Moving vehicles
  • Wet floor and ice
  • Fish boxes (trip hazard)
  • Quay edge (falling in the water)
  • Please keep close to your guide
  • BTA and Rockfish take no responsibility for any injuries or health conditions
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