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Value Decline Shows Economic Pressures on Scottish Fleet

22 April 2013

SCOTLAND, UK - The economic pressures faced by Scottish fishermen are clearly demonstrated by the overall quayside value of fish landed by the Scottish fleet in 2012 decreasing by seven per cent, said Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

Commenting on the release of provisional statistics by Scotland’s Chief Statistician Mr Armstrong  said: “These latest fisheries statistics highlight the extremely difficult marketing conditions and low quayside prices being endured by the Scottish fleet. It should not be forgotten that this fall in the overall value comes at the time when the Scottish fleet is facing spiralling operational costs, including high fuel prices. Our fishing boats also have to adhere to incredibly tight restrictions on the number of fishing days allowed, which means that a good proportion of the fleet is teetering on the brink of economic viability.

“The figures highlight more than ever the need for UK consumers to throw their support behind the fishing industry and buy more home-caught seafood, especially since Scottish fish is the sustainable choice with fishing pressure being at a record low and most stocks increasing.”

The provisional figures show that the total value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 was £464 million, seven per cent lower than in 2011. This decrease in total landed value is the result of reductions in the overall value of all species types. There was little change in the volume of fish landed between 2011 and 2012. The tonnage of pelagic fish landed increased by four per cent, whilst shellfish landings decreased by five per cent. The tonnage of demersal species landed was similar to 2011.

The statistics also reveal that that the number of active vessels in Scotland fell by two per cent and the number of fishermen employed decreased by five per cent.

Mr Armstrong said: “While it is important that we have a fleet size that is in line with the available catching opportunity, the dwindling employment levels in fishing is a worrying trend and another indicator of the extreme economic pressures being faced by the industry. Our fishing sector supports crucial jobs for many coastal communities and provides an incredibly important renewable food resource, and all efforts must be maintained to ensure there is a viable future for the industry.”

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