Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2021

National Statistics publication that provides data on weight and value of sea fish and shellfish landed by fishing vessels, structure of the Scottish fishing fleet and employment on Scottish vessels. The supporting documents include accessible tables and a pdf version of the publication.

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Sea fish and shellfish landings in 2021

There are signs that some parts of the fishing industry are recovering from the impacts of Covid-19, however there hasn’t been a return to pre-pandemic levels:

  • Scottish vessels landed 437 thousand tonnes of sea fish and shellfish with a gross value of £560 million in 2021. An increase of 15 per cent in the real value and a 10 per cent increase in the tonnage compared to 2020.
  • Compared to 2019, whilst there has been an 11 per cent increase in the tonnage landed, the real value of these landings has fallen by nine per cent.
  • The long term trend for the value of the fish landed by Scottish vessels has been generally positive since 2016, with 2020 being an exception.
  • Scottish vessels landed 170 thousand tonnes of sea fish and shellfish worth £148 million abroad in 2021. Landings abroad make up 39 per cent of tonnage and 26 per cent by value.

Performance of each sector

The 15 per cent increase in real value landed by Scottish vessels between 2020 and 2021 was driven by shellfish and pelagic species. The actual changes were:

  • The real terms value of shellfish landings increased by 29 per cent.
  • The real terms value of pelagic landings increased by 18 per cent.
  • The real terms value of demersal landings decreased by one per cent.

The 10 per cent increase in tonnage landed by Scottish vessels between 2020 and 2021 results from an increase in shellfish and pelagic fish landings:

  • Shellfish landings rose 18 per cent by tonnage and pelagic landings rose 14 per cent.
  • Demersal landings decreased by 10 per cent.

Key species

  • Mackerel remained the most valuable species in 2021 worth £210 million, making up 37 per cent of the total value of Scottish vessels’ landings.
  • Monkfish became the most valuable demersal species and represented six per cent of the total value of Scottish vessels’ landings.
  • In 2021, 1,423 tonnes of creeled Nephrops were landed by Scottish vessels with a value of £15 million. Twenty-one thousand tonnes of trawled Nephrops were landed worth £55 million.

The Scottish fishing fleet

The number of active Scottish vessels has remained stable at 2,082, increasing by two per cent compared to 2012:

  • The Scottish fleet is dominated by vessels that are ten metres and under in length with a total of 1,573 vessels falling into this category in 2021. There are 509 over 10 metre vessels.
  • Compared to 2012, the ten metre and under fleet has increased by 10 per cent while the over ten metre fleet has decreased by 15 per cent.
  • The over 40 metre Scottish vessels make up just one per cent of the number of vessels but landed 45 per cent of all landings by value.

Employment on Scottish fishing vessels

  • In 2021, 4,241 fishers were working on Scottish vessels, down 70 fishers compared to 2020[1].
  • Since 2013, employment on Scottish vessels has fallen six per cent.
Figure 1. Overview Statistics Infographic of Scottish landings, fleet and employment 2021

Scottish Sea Fisheries Overview Statistics 2021

Landings by Scottish registered vessels

437,203 tonnes (10% increase) worth £560 Million - (15% increase)

Three most valuable species are Mackerel, Nephrops and Monkfish.

% of total value landed

  • Mackerel 37%
  • Other pelagic 9%
  • Monkfish 6%
  • Other demersal 20%
  • Nephrops 13%
  • Other shellfish 15%

2,082 Active Scottish registered vessels

509 over 10 metre vessels

1,573 10 metre and under vessels

4,241 Fishers employed

Irregulary employed 18% (755)

Regularly employed 82% (3,486)



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