Crabs and lobsters are important species for the Scottish fishing industry. Although the
total quantity landed is small relative to finfish landings, crab and lobster attain high prices.
In 2012 the combined crab and lobster species landings of 14,000 tonnes had a value at
first-sale of over £30M1 (Scottish Government, 2013). The fishery is long established and
was traditionally an inshore mixed species creel fishery, prosecuted by small vessels.
However, improved technology and the ability to store and transport live animals in the
1980s led to the development of an offshore fishery for brown crab. This, and the
development of new markets for both brown and velvet crab, has resulted in a substantial
increase in the Scottish landings of both species over the last thirty years.