Scottish sea fisheries statistics 2016

Annual National Statistics report on the quantity and value of landings of sea fish and shellfish by Scottish vessels and landings into Scotland.

Key Points

Landings by Scottish vessels

The total value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2016 was £557 million, an increase of 25 per cent in real terms compared with 2015. This increase was mainly driven by an increase in value of pelagic species, although the other two species types also had increases in value. In real terms, the value of pelagic landings increased by 36 per cent to £222 million. Demersal landings had a value of £169 million, an increase of 16 per cent from 2015, and the value of shellfish landings increased by 21 per cent to £166 million.

The quantity of fish landed also increased between 2015 and 2016. A total of 453 thousand tonnes of fish was landed in 2016, an increase of three per cent from 2015. In terms of species types, the quantity of pelagic landings increased by one per cent shellfish landings increased ten per cent, and demersal landings increased by five per cent.

Mackerel remains the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet at £169 million, accounting for 30 per cent of the total value of Scottish landings. In 2016 the value of mackerel increased by 27 per cent in real terms compared to 2015. While the quantity of mackerel landed decreased by six per cent the average price increased by 35 per cent, from £664 per tonne in 2015 to £895 per tonne in 2016.

The quantity of demersal landings increased and further, the overall value of demersal species in the majority of key demersal species rose in real terms value since 2015, apart from haddock (down one per cent) and whiting (down seven per cent). The value of monkfish rose by 30 per cent and cod rose by 19 per cent, in real terms value since 2015. Demersal species increased in price per tonne in real terms, apart from haddock (down four per cent) and hake (down three per cent).

There was a ten per cent increase in shellfish landings and a 21 per cent increase in value in real terms of shellfish landed in 2015. All shellfish species rose in value in real terms since 2015. Nephrops rose in real terms value by 24 per cent since 2016 to £77 million, the second most valuable species accounting for 14 per cent of the total value of Scottish landings. However the price per tonne in real terms decreased by three per cent from £3,761 in 2015 to £3,645 in 2016. All other shellfish species rose in price per tonne since 2015.

Scottish fishing fleet

The number of active fishing vessels based in Scotland was 2,033 at the end of 2016, representing an increase of 19 vessels (0.9 per cent) on the previous year.

In 2016, the number of over ten metre vessels was 569, an increase of 3 vessels from 2015. The over ten metre demersal sector consisted of 187 vessels, an increase of 4 vessels, while the pelagic trawl sector decreased by one to 19 vessels. The number of vessels in the shellfish sector remained constant at 363 vessels.

There were 1,464 vessels in the ten metre and under fleet, an increase of 16 vessels compared to 2015.

Fishermen employed

The number of fishermen employed on Scottish based vessels was 4,823 at the end of 2016. This figure is consistent with the figure reported in 2015.


Email: Valerie West

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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