Coronavirus (COVID-19): marine sectors - business survey

Survey developed and carried out in order to understand the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Scottish aquaculture businesses, sea fisheries businesses and recreational fishing businesses.

5. Key Messages – Sea Fisheries Businesses

For context, 81% of respondents work in the shellfish sector, 27% in demersal and 6% in the pelagic sectors, 80% of respondents are a micro business and 75% own one vessel. This should be taken into account when considering the results.

The majority of the sea fisheries businesses (93%) continued to trade during the lockdown period. However, all respondents reported activity and effort to have reduced during the period. The majority signalling a decrease in prices (88%) and access to markets (72%) being the main cause. 68% of businesses reported that prices decreased more than normal during this period.

A majority of respondents reported a reduction in EU demand to be the main reason for turnover being outside its normal range, followed by a reduction in demand within UK. Around 60% of the respondents reported that their exports decreased by at least 20% during the coronavirus outbreak and 77% did not find new markets.

62% of businesses reported to have applied and received funding from the Marine Scotland Sea Fisheries Support Scheme. Support was also found from the small business grant/loan scheme (33%) and the self-employment income support scheme (30%). Some of the enterprises also received grants from the Coronavirus job retention scheme and Marine Scotland Aquaculture Hardship Fund.

The financial outlook of many businesses responding has been negatively affected due to Covid-19 with 55% of the respondents partly surviving with government support during this period and 18% solely relied on government support to continue operating.

The businesses' workforce in this sector was mostly able to meet the demand - 60% reported to have enough workforce to meet the demands of the business while only 15% reported to either not able to meet the business demands. 65% sourced their workforce locally, 17% within Scotland, 14% from other EU countries and 8% from countries outside of the EU. 37% of businesses reported to have decreased working hours in order to cope with the impact of coronavirus, 26% laid off crew in the short-term and 17% reported to have furloughed crew.

68% did not make any changes to their businesses as a result of Covid-19 and 58% have not made any plans anticipating a second wave.

Full survey results for sea fisheries respondents is available at Annex 1.



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