THE operating profit for the overall UK fishing fleet has increased by 34 per cent to £202 million in 2013, compared to 2012, according to the latest economic figures on the sector from Seafish.
However, for many vessel owners and skippers remaining profitable has continued to be a challenge.
The industry authority on seafood’s latest UK fleet analysis suggests that the economic performance of much of the industry has remained stable, despite the increasing cost of fuel, tighter management restrictions and challenging weather conditions.
According to the latest data, although total fishing income fell three per cent to £751 million between 2012 and 2013, mainly due to decreases in the first sale price of a number of different species, the continued profitability suggests the fleet has made adjustments to counter rising costs.
Steve Lawrence, economics project manager at Seafish, said: ‘Our research highlights the extraordinary work undertaken by the UK commercial fishing fleet.
‘In the face of a challenging economic and environmental landscape, the vessel owners and skippers have reacted positively in order to maintain operating profit margins in 2013.’
Despite these favourable numbers, results from the 600 interviews conducted reveal that vessel owners and skippers have largely mixed attitudes towards the future.
Many said that they were uncomfortable and hesitant to make predictions largely due to forthcoming regulation, such as the landing obligation.
On the other hand, a group of vessel owners and skippers reported that they were planning to expand their business regardless of the challenges ahead.
Seafish’s 2013 Economics of the UK Fishing Fleet – Key Features report aims to deliver a comprehensive analysis of the economic performance of the UK fishing fleet using the latest available data.
Tom Pickerell, technical director of Seafish, said: ‘We’re really grateful to all the several hundred vessel owners and skippers that took part in our survey and contributed necessary data.
‘Our report allows us to gain a valuable insight into the economic performance of the UK fishing fleet which in turn reveals the issues and challenges facing those on the front line. Through this, we can develop a better understanding of the industry as a whole.
‘For a number of years now, our economics team has been compiling a thorough, accurate and in-depth representation of the UK fishing fleet’s economic performance which has proved vital for informing key decision makers and developing best practice for all those involved in a sector which positively contributes to the wider UK economy.
‘We look forward to engaging with faces old and new for next year’s report and encourage as many people to join us as possible.’