Scotland's marine economic statistics 2018

Statistics on the economic contributions of Scotland’s marine sectors in 2018. Includes a time series of Gross Value Added (GVA), turnover and employment for industrial categories defined as part of the marine sector.

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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 publishes the processing data they collect in the processing inquiry tool which presents economic values for the processing of sea fish. Summary and background information is also available on the Seafish website. However, methodological differences mean that the SABS data allows for better comparisons with other industry results (see the Methodology section).  

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 2018, Seafood processing generated £338 million GVA: accounting for 0.24% of the overall Scottish economy and 8% of the marine economy GVA. Seafood processing provided employment for 7,600 people (headcount), contributing 0.29% to total Scottish employment and 10% to marine economy employment. 

6.3 Seafood processing – trends

In 2018, the GVA from seafood processing (adjusted to 2018 prices) decreased by 14% from the previous year, while the longer term trend from 2009 to 2018 showed that seafood processing GVA decreased by 2%. Employment decreased by 8% between 2009 and 2018.

Table 9: Seafood processing  - GVA, turnover, employment and GVA per head, 2009 to 2018 (2018 prices)
Year GVA Turnover Employment GVA Per Head
£M £M  '000s £
2009 347 1,692 8.3 41,765
2010 363 1,666 8.0 45,424
2011 372 1,434 7.5 49,543
2012 304 1,463 7.7 39,445
2013 419 1,708 7.1 58,957
2014 448 1,812 8.0 56,035
2015 334 1,664 7.5 44,502
2016 401 1,670 7.6 52,733
2017 392 1,826 7.7 50,922
2018 338 1,728 7.6 44,487
Figure 10: Seafood processing – GVA and employment, Scotland, 2009 to 2018 (2018 prices)
Figure 10 - Chart showing trends from 2009 to 2018 in the seafood processing sector GVA and employment. GVA shown at 2018 prices.

6.4 Seafood processing by geography

The Food Standards Agency[7]  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 January 2019, there were 284 registered fish processing plants in Scotland. The three local authorities with the highest number of plants were Aberdeenshire (52), Highland (42) and Aberdeen City (37).  



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