Marine economic statistics 2017: corrected April 2020

Statistics on economic contributions of Scotland’s marine sectors present a time series of Gross Value Added (GVA), turnover and employment for industrial categories defined as part of the marine sector. This publication was originally published in October 2019 and was corrected in April 2020.

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6. Seafood Processing

6.1 Introduction

The seafood processing industry is defined in SABS as the "Processing and preserving of fish, crustaceans and molluscs". In this publication SABS information on seafood processing is used as the source data. Seafish produces a 2016 Seafood Processing Industry Report which presents economic values for the processing of sea fish. However, methodological differences mean that the SABS data allows for better comparisons with other industry results (see the Methodology section).

SABS employment figures for the 'Processing and preserving of fish, crustaceans and molluscs' are almost twice that of the Seafish employment values. The main difference is the inclusion of aquaculture processing in the SABS survey and not in the Seafish survey. This highlights the importance of mainly farmed Atlantic salmon in the processing economy. The Seafish employment survey is carried out every two years.

While fish processing is predominantly a terrestrial activity, the bulk of processing in Scotland is highly dependent on fish landed from Scottish waters. Therefore fish processing has been included in the definition of the marine economy.

6.2 Key economic points

In 2017, Seafood processing generated £392 million GVA: accounting for 0.29% of the overall Scottish economy and 8% of the marine economy GVA. Seafood processing provided employment for 7,700 people (headcount), contributing 0.3% to total Scottish employment and 10% to marine economy employment.

6.3 Seafood Processing - trends

In 2017, the GVA from seafood processing (adjusted to 2017 prices) was unchanged from the previous year, while the longer term trend from 2008 to 2017 showed that seafood processing GVA increased by one third. Employment was relatively stable between 2008 to 2017.

Table 9 : Seafood processing - GVA, turnover, employment and GVA per head, 2008 to 2017 (2017 prices)
Year GVA
GVA Per Head
2008 294 1,260 7.8 37,699
2009 338 1,651 8.3 40,768
2010 355 1,626 8.0 44,324
2011 363 1,399 7.5 48,357
2012 297 1,429 7.7 38,538
2013 409 1,669 7.1 57,596
2014 438 1,772 8.0 54,801
2015 327 1,630 7.5 43,576
2016 393 1,638 7.6 51,721
2017 392 1,790 7.7 50,922
Figure 10: Seafood processing - GVA and employment, Scotland, 2008 to 2017 (2017 prices)
Figure 10: Seafood processing - GVA and employment, Scotland, 2008 to 2017 (2017 prices)

6.4 Seafood Processing by geography

The Food Standards Agency[8] publish a full list of establishments approved to handle, prepare or produce products of animal origin, including fish processing plants. This information was used to provide the number of fish processing businesses in Scotland by local authority. It does not consider volume of throughput, or type of fish.

As of September 2018, there were 284 registered fish processing plants in Scotland. The three local authorities with the highest number of plants were Aberdeenshire (52), Highland (43) and Aberdeen City (38).



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