Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2012

A detailed overview of landings of sea fish; the Scottish fishing fleet; and the number of sea fishermen employed.

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Key Points

Landings by Scottish vessels

The value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 was £466 million, a decrease of nine per cent in real terms compared with 2011, which was a record high year. This decrease in the overall value of landings was driven by reductions in the value of all species types. The real term value of pelagic landings decreased by 11 per cent to £166 million. Demersal landings had a value of £143 million, a reduction of eight per cent from 2011, and the value of shellfish landings decreased by six per cent to £157 million. Despite the nine per cent decrease in overall value from 2011, there was little change in volume of catch landed. A total of 365 thousand tonnes of fish was landed in 2012, an overall increase of two per cent from 2011. In terms of species types; the volume of pelagic and demersal landings increased by four per cent and one per cent, respectively, whilst shellfish landings decreased by four per cent.

Reductions in the price obtained for many key species drove the overall decrease in the value of landings between 2012 and 2011. Mackerel is the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet, accounting for 28 per cent (£131 million) of the total value of Scottish landings. In 2012 it decreased in value by 21 per cent in real terms from 2011, driven by a 14 per cent fall in price and an eight per cent decrease in the quantity landed to 134 thousand tonnes. However, 2012 proved a good year for herring fisheries, the other key pelagic species. The value of herring increased by 68 per cent in real terms to £29 million. The overall value of demersal species reduced because of price reductions in the majority of key demersal species since 2011. The only demersal species that increased in price in real terms was hake (up 12 per cent). The prices of key shellfish species either decreased or were similar to last year. In combination with price decreases, the reduction in volume of shellfish landings drove the six per cent reduction in the value of shellfish landed.

Quota uptake by vessels in Scottish Producer Organisations

Quota uptake for important demersal stocks was high in 2012. Landings of North Sea haddock, North Sea cod, North Sea whiting, and North Sea saithe were close to 100 per cent uptake of the quota available. Uptake for North Sea monkfish and North Sea Nephrops was relatively low, 62 per cent and 54 per cent respectively, and lower than 2011's uptake. In the case of Nephrops, this was down to poor availability in the fishing grounds. Quota uptake for the important pelagic stocks reached or exceeded 100 per cent for North Sea herring, West of Scotland herring and West of Scotland mackerel, similar to 2011.

Scottish fishing fleet

The number of active fishing vessels based in Scotland was 2,046 at the end of 2012, representing a decrease of 49 vessels (two per cent) on the previous year and the smallest recorded fleet size.

In 2012, the number of over ten metre vessels was 598, a loss of 27 vessels from 2011. The over ten metre demersal sector consisted of 215 vessels, a decrease of 14 vessels, while the shellfish sector reduced by 13 vessels to 359 vessels. The number of vessels in the over ten metre pelagic sector was unchanged compared to 2011, with 24 vessels. There were 1,448 vessels in the ten metre and under fleet, a decrease of 22 vessels since 2011.

Fishermen employed

The number of fishermen employed on Scottish based vessels was 4,747 at the end of 2012. Compared to 2011, there are 249 less people employed on Scottish based vessels, representing a five per cent decrease, bringing the 2012 fisherman employment figure to the lowest recorded level.


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