Scotland: Fishing income increases –

Scotland: Fishing income increases Published:  30 May, 2007

Richard Lochhead

THE total value of fish landed by Scottish vessels increased by six per cent to £370 million in 2006, according to provisional figures released today by Scottish Executive National Statistics.

The value of shellfish landings increased by 25 per cent to £140 million between 2005 and 2006, with the volume of landings in this sector increasing by seven per cent to 59 thousand tonnes.

The provisional employment figures indicate an increase in the number of fishermen of five per cent between 2005 to 2006 to reach 5,209.

Commenting on the statistics, Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said: “Behind all these statistics are stories of real fishing communities. Many have gone through tough times and a lot of pain. Others are on the road to greater stability and prosperity.

“It is time for a fresh start. Fishing provides tens of thousands of jobs and generates hundreds of millions of pounds for the Scottish economy, not only the fleets but also the landings, harbours, processing, food, retail and restaurant sectors.

“Scotland has the largest fishing zone of any single EU country and, importantly, the largest part of Europe’s productive and fertile northern fishing grounds.

“But for too long Scottish fishing has not been treated as a priority. The new Scottish Government will give it the support it deserves and push for improvements at every level.”

There was a warm welcome for his sentiments today from Bertie Armstrong, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation who said that the Minister’s promise of a fresh start would give deserved and long-needed visibility to a significant sector which was pursuing a sustainable harvest.And Mr Armstroong also backed the Minister’s contention, voiced last week in Glasgow, that upping the Scottish industry’s profile on the domestic and international stage would help the whole UK fisheries sector, not just Scottish fishermen.

Other main findings include:

. Landings by Scottish based vessels

– High value shellfish landings formed 16 per cent of the total by weight, but 38 per cent by value, making shellfish the most valuable sector to the Scottish fleet for the first time.

– The value of demersal landings increased by 11 percent to £136 million, despite the volume of landings decreasing by six per cent to 94 thousand tonnes.

– Demersal landings made up 37 per cent of the total value and 25 per cent of the total volume.

– The 2006 pelagic landings have been affected by the repayment arrangements agreed with the Commission for undeclared landings of herring and mackerel. Under administrative arrangements, repayment started in 2006 and covered some undeclared landings in 2005 and 2006.

– The volume of pelagic species landed decreased by 31 per cent to 226 thousand tonnes. Although prices per tonne landed increased, the value landed decreased by 19 per cent to £92 million.

– Pelagic landings made up 25 per cent of the total value and 60 per cent of the total volume.

. Scottish Fishing Fleet

– There were 2,224 active fishing vessels based in Scotland at the end of 2006; a net reduction of 152 (six per cent) since 2005.

– In the last decade, the number of over 10m vessels has decreased, reflecting the impact of two decommissioning schemes in 2001 and 2003, which gave grants to owners in the Scottish whitefish fleet to decommission their vessel and surrender their fishing licence.

– The over 10 metres fleet decreased by 18 vessels (two per cent) in 2006 to 706, continuing a long term decline. This segment is now 36 per cent smaller than in 1996; a trend which has affected the demersal (down 45 per cent), pelagic (down 53 per cent) and shellfish (down 26 per cent) sectors.

– The under 10 metre segment of the fleet decreased by 134 vessels (eight per cent) to 1,518 over the year.

. Quota Uptake

– Quota uptake reached 90 per cent or more, for four of the ten most important demersal stocks (NS Cod, NS Whiting, NS Saithe, NS Plaice).

– Quota uptake was greater than 80 per cent for NS Haddock, NS Nephrops and NS Anglers and greater than 70 per cent for WS Cod, WS Haddock and WS Nephrops.

– Quota uptake for the four most important pelagic stocks continued to be high in 2006, approaching 100 per cent for NS Herring, WS Herring and WS Mackerel and exceeding 90 per cent for WS Horse Mackerel. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.