Scotland's Marine Economic Statistics 2021

Statistics on the economic contributions of Scotland’s marine sectors in 2021. Includes a time series of Gross Value Added (GVA), turnover and employment for marine sectors. The supporting documents include: additional tables in an excel file and a pdf version of the publication

Data and Methodology

Additional Tables

Additional tables are available alongside this publication in Excel format. These tables provide more detail on the individual marine sectors. This includes: ten year trends and geographical breakdowns where possible. They can be downloaded from the supporting documents of Scotland's Marine Economic Statistics 2021.


The main source for the economic data in this publication is the Scottish Annual Business Statistics. This is based on data from the Annual Business Survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Businesses are classified by industry using the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities 2007 (SIC 2007). All marine sectors apart from fishing, aquaculture and offshore wind use Scottish Annual Business Statistics. The detail on the industry codes included in each sector is shown below:

  • Oil and gas services: 09.1 support activities for petroleum and natural gas extraction
  • Seafood processing: 10.2 processing and preserving of fish, crustaceans and molluscs
  • Shipbuilding: 30.1 building of ships and boats and 33.15 repair and maintenance of ships and boats
  • Construction and water transport services: 42.91 construction of water projects and 52.22 service activities incidental to water transportation
  • Passenger water transport: 50.1 sea and coastal passenger water transport
  • Freight water transport: 50.2 sea and coastal freight water transport
  • Renting and leasing: 7.34 renting and leasing of water transport equipment
  • Marine Tourism: tourism and recreation business at postcodes within 100 metres of coastline. Includes industry codes:
    • 55.1 Hotels and similar accommodation
    • 55.2 Holiday and other short-stay accommodation
    • 55.3 Camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks and trailer parks
    • 56.1 Restaurants and mobile food service activities
    • 56.3 Beverage serving activities
    • 79.12 Tour operator activities
    • 79.9 Other reservation service and related activities
    • 91.02 Museum activities
    • 91.03 Operation of historical sites and buildings and similar visitor attractions
    • 91.04 Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserve activities
    • 93.11 Operation of sports facilities
    • 93.199 Other sports activities (not including activities of racehorse owners)
    • 93.21 Activities of amusement parks and theme parks
    • 93.29 Other amusement and recreation activities

Industry code 06 Extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas is a key component of the Scottish economy. But, estimates are not included here as this is offshore activity. To be consistent with National Accounts Statistics, this is not allocated to UK regions.

The fishing data sources are:

1. Seafish Industry Authority Fleet Economic Survey for GVA and turnover estimates for the Scottish fishing fleet.

2. Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2022 for employment data.

These sources provide a more reliable estimate of economic activity than the Scottish Annual Business Statistics. Seafish use the value of fish landings as source data for turnover. They then carry out their own financial survey to produce estimates of GVA. This survey is stratified to produce a representative sample of fishing businesses. Fish landings are administrative data and cover all fishing vessels. The employment data covers all registered Scottish fishing vessels.

The aquaculture data sources are:

  • 1. Marine Scotland Shellfish production survey for employment and production value.
  • 2. Marine Scotland Fin fish production survey for salmon and other fin fish employment and production value.
  • 3. An aquaculture economic survey used to meet clause one of the UK Fisheries Act 2020. This replaces the previous European Commission's Data Collection Framework requirements (DCF). Provides information on income and expenditure.
  • 4. Scottish Annual Business Statistics for change in stock value.

The offshore wind data source is the Low carbon and renewable energy economy, UK: 2021 bulletin. The Scottish Annual Business Statistics does not include separate information on offshore wind. There is no separate industry code for this activity.


A bespoke extract of data is supplied for the marine industries covered by the Scottish Annual Business Statistics. This is combined with the data for industries derived from other data sources. Offshore wind is an exception. It is not combined with the other industries as GVA is not available.

In the publication, all values have been adjusted to 2021 prices using 2021 calendar year GDP deflators at market prices. This makes it simpler to compare values across a time series.

Aquaculture methodology

The aquaculture production value from the shellfish and fin fish production surveys are used as the turnover. The employment is also taken from these surveys which include all aquaculture businesses in Scotland. The GVA for aquaculture is calculated by:

1. Totalling the production income and other income for the sample of businesses that responded to the aquaculture economic survey.

2. Totalling the costs of inputs (not staffing or financial costs) for the sample of businesses that responded to the aquaculture economic survey.

3. Calculating aquaculture production value by adding the fin fish and shellfish surveys production values together.

4. Calculating the ratio of of aquaculture production value (in step 3) to the production income (in step 1).

5. Calculate change in stock value adjusted to the same level as the production survey by:

a. Dividing the total production survey value by the Scottish Annual Business Statistics turnover for aquaculture.

b. Multiplying the change in stock value from the Scottish Annual Business Statistics by this ratio.

6. Calculating total income at Scotland level by multiplying total income from the aquaculture economic survey by the ratio in step 4.

7. Calculating cost of inputs at Scotland level by multiplying cost of inputs (step 2) from the aquaculture economic survey by the ratio in step 4.

8. Calculate GVA by subtracting cost of inputs at Scotland level (step 7) from total income at Scotland level (step 6) and then adding change in stock value (step 5).

Marine tourism methodology

Marine tourism and recreation has been defined as including "activities which involve travel away from one's "habitual" place of residence, which have as their host or focus the marine environment and/or the coastal zone". This is the definition used in the 2015 Scottish Marine Recreation and Tourism Survey.

Marine tourism is estimated using the Scottish Annual Business Statistics tourism and recreation businesses and their postcodes. Tourism and recreation businesses located in postcodes within 100 metres of the coastline are counted as marine tourism.

The list of industry codes for relevant tourism and recreation business activities is provided on page 18. This list aligns with the definition of Sustainable Tourism in the Growth Sector Statistics. We have assumed that marine tourism businesses are located close to the coast. This may exclude relevant activities of tourism businesses that are located further from the coast. The 100 metre threshold was selected to minimise chances of including in the estimates activities from non-marine tourism businesses. This effects urban coastal areas such as Aberdeen and Edinburgh more than rural areas.

Offshore wind methodology

The Low carbon and renewable energy economy survey was designed to provide greater detail on these sectors in the UK. The survey collects a wide range of information including turnover and employment. 17 low carbon sectors including offshore wind are included.

The figures are survey-based estimates and gather information from a sample rather than the whole population. This means that they are subject to measurable sampling uncertainty, which has an effect on how changes in the estimates should be interpreted. Estimates of the level of uncertainty associated with all figures (coefficients of variation and confidence intervals) reported are presented in the ONS Low carbon and renewable energy economy, UK: 2021 bulletin and datasets to aid interpretation.

In the case of offshore wind, the annual changes in employment estimates have too much sampling variability to show any changes. However, we can be confident that the turnover in 2021 was significantly higher than all previous years.

The offshore wind employment was published in this survey as a full time equivalent. Data from other sources was used to convert the full time equivalent estimates to headcounts. The annual population survey provided the percentage employed full time (around 74% but varies by year) in Scotland. The annual survey of hours and earnings gave the average number of hours part time and full time staff work in Scotland. Part time staff work an average of 19 hours and full time staff work an average of 39 hours. So, the headcount works out at about 27% higher than the full time equivalent.

Full time equivalent estimates

Following specific stakeholder feedback, we have added estimates for the full time equivalent estimates to all marine sectors. Data from other sources was used to convert the headcounts to full time equivalent estimates.

Part and full time employee numbers by year and industry code were taken from the Business Register and Employment Survey. This was used to calculate the percentage in each sector that worked part time in each year. The annual survey of hours and earnings gave the average number of hours part time and full time staff work in Scotland by year. This was used to calculate the average proportion of full time hours that part time workers actually work.


A total for all marine economy sectors, excluding fishing and aquaculture, by local authority was provided from the Scottish Annual Business Statistics data. Values for fishing and aquaculture were combined with this data to produce marine economy totals by local authority. The fishing values were provided by local authority subject to confidentiality constraints. Any that could not be provided separately, are included in the 'unallocated' category. Aquaculture values were not available by local authority, so are included in "unallocated".

Marine tourism information is unavailable separately by local authority. This is due to the small quantity of data. So, Scottish Marine Regions are used to show the geographic distribution of marine tourism. There are 11 Scottish Marine Regions that divide the seas around Scotland.



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