Scotland's Marine Economic Statistics 2019

Statistics on the economic contributions of Scotland’s marine sectors in 2019. Includes a time series of Gross Value Added (GVA), turnover and employment for marine sectors. The supporting documents include: accessible tables, a summary topic sheet and a pdf version of the publication.

3. Commercial fishing

3.1 Introduction

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[4] survey, with employment figures from Scottish 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 2019, fishing generated £329 million GVA: accounting for 0.22% of the overall Scottish economy and 6.5% of the marine economy GVA. The commercial fishing industry provided employment for a headcount of 4,886 people, contributing 0.18% of the total Scottish employment and 6.5% of the marine economy employment.

3.3 Sea fishing trends

From 2018 to 2019, the GVA from fishing (adjusted to 2019 prices) increased by 6%. The longer term trend from 2010 to 2019, showed that fishing GVA increased by 56% and GVA per person increased 67% from £40 thousand per person to £67 thousand per person.

From 2010 to 2019, employment fell by 6%, though it has been stable in recent years.

Table 4: Fishing - GVA, turnover, employment and GVA per head, 2010 to 2019 (2019 prices)
Year GVA (millions of pounds) Turnover (millions of pounds) Employment headcount (thousands) GVA per head (pounds)
2010 210 520 5.22 40,329
2011 253 593 5.00 50,734
2012 240 551 4.75 50,557
2013 211 501 4.99 42,232
2014 303 586 4.80 63,271
2015 235 487 4.82 48,668
2016 327 609 4.82 67,746
2017 335 616 4.80 69,809
2018 309 603 4.86 63,536
2019 329 596 4.89 67,257
Figure 4: Fishing - GVA and employment (headcount), Scotland, 2010 to 2019 (2019 prices)

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 5). Between 2010 and 2019, the quantity of fish landed increased by 7% and value by 14%.

Figure 5 shows landings volume and value for Scottish registered vessels from 2010 to 2019.

Figure 5: Fishing - volume and value of all landings by Scottish vessels, 2010-2019 (2019 prices)

Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2020

Full data tables are shown in the Tables section on page 49.

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 24 shows the time series from 2016 to 2019 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 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 2019. The Highland region accounted for 18% of the employment.

Table 5: Fishing – value of landings and employment by Local Authority of vessel registration, 2019
Local authority Value of landings (millions of pounds) Employment headcount
Aberdeenshire 258.4 1,238
Shetland Islands 108.1 501
Highland 56 881
Argyll And Bute 28.8 513
Orkney Islands 22.6 288
Na h-Eileanan Siar 17.1 376
Moray 16.3 162
Dumfries And Galloway 15.2 235
South Ayrshire 11.6 215
Fife 6 153
Scottish Borders 5 106
Angus 3.3 60
East Lothian 2.8 94
North Ayrshire 1.8 35
Aberdeen City 0.5 12
City of Edinburgh c 17
Unallocated 42.7
Scotland Total 596.3 4,886

Ranked in order of value of landings.

The letter ‘c’ denotes disclosive data.



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