A National Statistics Publication for Scotland
Provisional statistics published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician show that the quantity of fish landed by Scottish registered vessels in 2016 was 453,300 tonnes with a value of £563 million, an increase of three per cent and 29 per cent respectively since 2015.
The number of active Scottish registered fishing vessels in 2016 was 2,038, an increase of one per cent from 2015. The number of fishermen employed on Scottish fishing vessels was 4,823, consistent with 2015.
Landings by Scottish registered vessels
The increase in value of fish landings in 2016 was driven by a 41 per cent increase in the value of pelagic landings, a 26 per cent increase in value of shellfish landings and a 18 per cent increase in value of demersal landings. The increase in volume of fish landed was also due to a ten per cent increase in shellfish landings, a five per cent increase in demersal fish landings and one per cent increase in pelagic fish landings:
- Pelagic fish – 41 per cent increase in value, one per cent increase in volume
- Demersal fish – 18 per cent increase in value, five per cent increase in volume
- Shellfish – 25 per cent increase in value, ten per cent increase in volume
The total value of pelagic fish landings in 2016 increased, by 41 per cent, to £226 million and there was a one per cent increase in the volume of pelagic landings to 294,400 tonnes.
Mackerel is the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet. At £169 million it accounted for 30 per cent of the total value of Scottish landings. The value of mackerel increased by 29 per cent since 2015. However the volume of mackerel landed by Scottish registered vessels in 2016 was 188,000 tonnes, six per cent lower than in 2015. Of the total volume of mackerel landed by Scottish vessels in 2016, 51 per cent was landed into Scotland and 49 per cent was landed abroad. The average price of mackerel landed abroad increased 40 per cent to £936 per tonne in 2016, whereas the average price of mackerel landed into Scotland increased 35 per cent to £885 per tonne.
In 2016, the volume of herring landed by Scottish vessels increased 12 per cent to 66,000 tonnes, and the value increased by 121 per cent to £47 million. This was due to a 98 per cent rise in the average price to £719 per tonne.
In 2016, the total value of demersal landings increased by 18 per cent from 2015 to £169 million, and the volume of landings increased five per cent to 95,400 tonnes. Haddock, monkfish and cod are the most valuable demersal fish stocks to the Scottish fleet, in terms of monetary value. The value of haddock increased half of one per cent in 2016 to £38 million, despite a two per cent decrease in average price per tonne of haddock to £1,332 per tonne from 2015. This is because the volume landed increased three per cent to 28,000 tonnes.
The volume of cod landed in 2016 was 13 per cent higher than in 2015. The value of cod increased 21 per cent to £27 million and average price increased by seven per cent to £2,103 per tonne. The value of monkfish landings increased 32 per cent to £35 million driven by a 16 per cent increase in average price per tonne to £2,743 per tonne from 2015. The volume of monkfish landed increased 14 per cent to 13,000 tonnes.
The value of hake landings was £18 million, a 16 per cent increase from 2015. This was due to an 18 per cent increase in the volume landed to 8,000 tonnes, despite a two per cent decrease in the price per tonne to £2,353. The value of saithe landings was £8 million, a 14 per cent increase from 2015. Although the volume of saithe decreased by four per cent the average price per tonne increased by 18 per cent. The value of whiting landings was £8 million, a 6 per cent decrease from 2015. The volume landed decreased by eight per cent and the price per tonne increased by three per cent.
The value of plaice landings was £7 million, a 65 per cent increase from 2015. This was due to an 31 per cent increase in the volume landed and a 26 per cent increase in the price per tonne. Both ling and megrim landings had a value of £6 million, a 38 per cent and 29 per cent increase from 2015, respectively. There was a 23 per cent decrease in the volume of ‘other demersal’ species landed in 2016. However value increased by 33 per cent due to a 74 per cent increase in the average price per tonne. The increase in the value of ‘other demersal’ species was mainly due to better reporting of wrasse sales which has improved estimates of the value of landings caught by Scottish vessels. Wrasse is used by the aquaculture industry as a cleaner fish to remove sea lice.
Relative to 2015 the total value of shellfish increased by 26 per cent to £169 million in 2016, and the volume of shellfish landed increased ten per cent to 63,600 tonnes. In terms of value, Nephrops (Norway Lobster/Langoustine) are the most valuable shellfish stock, accounting for 47 per cent of shellfish landings, and overall the second most valuable stock, to the Scottish fleet. In 2016, the total value of Nephrops was £79 million which is 30 per cent higher relative to 2015. This is due to a 27 per cent increase in volume landed to 21,000 tonnes and a two per cent increase in average price to £3,766 per tonne. Scallops are the second most valuable shellfish stock to the Scottish fleet, making up 22 per cent of the value of shellfish landings. The volume of scallops landed in 2016 decreased four per cent to 15,000 tonnes. However, the value of scallops increased 12 per cent to £37 million, due to a 17 per cent increase in the average price to £2,416 per tonne.
Scottish fishing fleet
The number of active Scottish registered fishing vessels in 2016 was 2,038, an increase of 23 vessels from 2015.
During 2016, the number of over 10 metre vessels increased to 571, five more vessels than the previous year. The shellfish sector makes up 64 per cent of the over 10 metre fleet and the number of vessels in the sector increased by two vessels, to 365 vessels. The demersal sector makes up 33 per cent of over 10 metre vessel fleet, and the number of vessels in the sector increased by 4 vessels. However the pelagic sector decreased by one vessel to a total of 19.
There were 1,467 10 metre and under vessels in the Scottish fleet, an increase of 18 vessels from 2015. The number of creel fishing 10 metre and under vessels increased by 17 vessels to 1,291 in 2016. The creel fishing 10 metre and under vessel sector represents 88 per cent of the 10 metre and under vessel fleet. The Nephrops trawl sector remained the same since 2015. The remaining “other 10 metre and under vessels” sector increased by one vessel to 106 in 2016.
In 2016, the overall number of fishermen employed on Scottish fishing vessels was reported at 4,823 which is consistent with the figure reported in 2015. The number of regularly employed decreased by 146 (four per cent decrease) to 3,834. Whereas the irregularly employed fishermen increased by 146, to 938 (18 per cent increase). There was no difference reported in the number of crofters.
Fish Quota Uptake
Uptake of quota was high overall for the major pelagic fish stocks; West of Scotland mackerel was over 106 per cent, while North Sea mackerel exceeded 99 per cent and North Sea Herring was over 103 per cent. However uptake for West of Scotland herring was ten percentage points lower in comparison to 2015, at over 80 per cent uptake.
Quota uptake was 98 per cent and above for the key demersal fish stocks in the North Sea, with the exception of North Sea haddock (above 59 per cent) and North Sea plaice (above 68 per cent). In comparison to 2015 North Sea haddock decreased 24 percentage points. West of Scotland quota uptake for haddock (area VIb), was over 84 per cent, a decrease of 13 percentage points. Whereas whiting, saithe and monkfish were over 97 per cent. In comparison to 2015, uptake for haddock (areas VIa, Vb) was 29 percentage points lower, with uptake at just over 61 per cent.
In 2016, quota uptake for North Sea Nephrops 87 per cent, while uptake for West of Scotland Nephrops was over 82 per cent. In comparison to 2015, uptake for North Sea Nephrops was 23 percentage points higher and West of Scotland Nephrops was seven percentage point higher, 2015 was a poor year for Nephrops.
The Provisional Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics, 2016, can be accessed at:
The main source for Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics is Marine Scotland’s FIN (Fisheries Information Network) administrative data base containing information on sea fishing activity and catch details, including sales details from Registered Buyers and Sellers (RBS), input by Marine Scotland Compliance, based on information supplied by fishing vessels, buyers and sellers. Where necessary, this is supplemented by information from the equivalent “Rest of UK” administrative system, FAD, using data held in the UK data warehouse, IFISH. FIN holds details of all fish landings into Scotland and landings abroad by Scottish based vessels. Voyage and landings information is supplied by skippers who, for vessels over 10 metres, are required by EU legislation to maintain logbooks and provide landings declarations. Although this EU legislation does not require vessels of 10 metres and under to provide this information; in Scotland they provide equivalent information on the FISH1 forms. Data on first sales of fish, which provides information on the value of landings, is provided by fish buyers and sellers under EU legislation on the Register of Buyers and Sellers Information is collated and entered at port offices and then transmitted to the FIN central server.
Data on employment within the Scottish fishing fleet is collated by Marine Scotland in an annual survey distributed to port offices in each of the 18 Scottish fishing districts. The total burden on all respondents for this small survey is estimated to total no more than £1 thousand each year, based on information obtained from each office on the time taken to complete the return and the grades of staff involved.
The Sea Fisheries Data Team will regularly update certain management information such as levels of quota uptake and fish prices on their web site – see link below.
Further information on Agriculture and Fisheries statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:
National statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of National statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: