Downward trend in fish industry

Statistics published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician show that the value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2013 decreased by nine per cent in real terms from 2012, following two record years.

The quantity of fish landed remained broadly constant for the seventh consecutive year.

There were 367,000 tonnes of sea fish and shellfish landed by Scottish based vessels in 2013, with a value of £430 million. Compared to 2012 real-term value dropped by nine per cent. The quantity of fish landed remained broadly constant for the seventh consecutive year. The decrease in the overall value of landings was reflected by reductions in the value of all species types. The value of:

* Pelagic landings decreased by nine per cent to £153 million

* Demersal landings decreased by four per cent to £140 million

* Shellfish landings decreased by 14 per cent to £137 million

Many of the decreases in the value of key fish species stem from reductions in price. Mackerel is the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet, accounting for 29 per cent (£126 million) of the total value of landings. In 2013 it decreased in real terms value by five per cent from 2012, driven by a five per cent price fall.

Nephrops are the most valuable shellfish species to the Scottish fishing industry, accounting for 15 per cent (£65 million) of the total value of landings. The value of Nephrops landings by Scottish vessels decreased by 23 per cent in real terms from 2012, driven by a 13 per cent decrease in the quantity landed and an 11 per cent fall in the price.

North Sea cod, haddock, whiting and saithe all exceeded 90 per cent quota uptake. North Sea Nephrops and monkfish quota uptake was lower, at 48 per cent and 65 per cent. At the end of 2013, North Sea Nephrops uptake was six percentage points below the previous year. The West of Scotland demersal stocks had generally lower quota uptakes than North Sea stocks. Quota uptake exceeded 100 per cent for most of the pelagic stocks.

The number of active fishing vessels in Scotland was 2,020 at the end of 2013, a decrease of 26 (one per cent) from 2012, and the smallest recorded fleet size. From the end of 2012, there was

* A loss of 22 vessels in the 10m and under fleet to 1,426 vessels

* A loss of four vessels in the over 10m fleet to 594 vessels

* Demersal sector reduced to 204 vessels

* Shellfish sector increased to 367 vessels

* Pelagic sector reduced by one to 23 vessels

The number of fishermen employed on Scottish based vessels was 4,992.