3. Commercial fishing
Scotland's commercial fishing fleet and sea fisheries are significant contributors to Scotland's rural and coastal economies. The commercial fishing industry contributes significantly to Scotland's food and drink economy, in particular playing an important part in many remote and potentially fragile communities.
In this section the economic contribution of the commercial fishing sector is sourced from the Seafish Economics of the UK Fishing Fleet 2017, with employment figures from Marine Scotland Sea Fisheries Statistics. This approach provides more reliable estimates of economic activity than the SABS figures, primarily because the source data covers the entire population of commercial fishing vessels and the Seafish survey provides financial data that is used to estimate GVA for the UK fleet. Seafish provide bespoke extracts of economic values for the Scottish fleet for this publication.
3.2 Key economic points
In 2017 fishing generated £316 million GVA: accounting for 0.24% of the overall Scottish economy and 6% of the marine economy GVA. The commercial fishing industry provided employment for a headcount of 4,800 people, contributing 0.19% of the total Scottish employment and 6% of the marine economy employment.
3.3 Sea fishing trends
From 2016 to 2017 the GVA from fishing (adjusted to 2017 prices) increased by 1%. The longer term trend from 2008 to 2017 showed that fishing GVA increased by 72% and GVA per person almost doubled from £34 thousand per person to £66 thousand per person.
From 2008 to 2017 employment fell by 12%, though it has been stable in recent years.
| Employment Headcount
| GVA Per Head
Fishing GVA is mostly driven by the volume of landings and price. However, total volume of landings can be influenced by quota changes, such as the 31% increase in quantity of landings in 2014 (see Figure 6). Between 2008 and 2017, the quantity of fish landed increased by 25% and value by 22%.
Figure 6 shows landings volume and value for Scottish registered vessels from 2008 to 2017.
Full data tables are shown in the Tables section.
3.4 Sea fishing by geography
The table below presents the value of landings at local authority level based on the vessel's registered port. Table 23 shows the time series from 2014 to 2017 for the value of landings by local authority areas. While the methodology used allocates value to the port of register, it does not relate to the area of catch.
Sixteen local authorities are reported here. The other 16 either have no reported value of landings from fishing or have so few vessels registered that their statistics are disclosive. The suppressed statistics are reported in the table as 'unallocated'.
Employment on Scottish registered vessels is regularly reported in the Marine Scotland Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics. The employment figures are currently reported by regions, which are broadly local authority areas, with the island local authorities combined.
With 1,183 fishers, Aberdeenshire has the largest number of people employed in sea fishing in Scotland and accounted for 25% of the total number of fishers on Scottish vessels in 2017. The Highland region accounted for 20% of the employment.
|Local authority|| Value of landings
|Argyll & Bute||26.6||513|
|Dumfries & Galloway||17.7||270|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||13.2||318|
|City of Edinburgh||0.3||19|
Ranked in order of value of landings
Landings: Seafish Fleet Economic Survey,
Employment : Marine Scotland Sea Fisheries Statistics