SCOTLAND, UK - The overall value of fish landed by Scottish fleets in 2014 increased by almost a fifth – 18 per cent – in 2014 on to the previous year, with mackerel continuing to be the most valuable stock.
The total quantity of fish landed also increased by 31 per cent compared to 2013.
There were 481 thousand tonnes of sea fish and shellfish landed by Scottish based vessels in 2014, with a value of £514 million. Compared to 2013 the real terms value increased by 18 per cent and the quantity of fish landed increased by 31 per cent.
Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead welcomed the news, commenting: “I am very encouraged by today’s figures which indicate the value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2014 increased by 18 per cent in real terms from the previous year – with an overall value of £514 million. Despite the volatile weather conditions it is good to see that the overall volume of landings from the Scottish fleet held up well in 2014, increasing in fact by 31 per cent.
“I’m particularly pleased with the news that the value of mackerel landings increased in real terms by 52 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013 – it is the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet, accounting for 38 per cent, an impressive £195 million, of the total value of Scottish landings.
"The Scottish Government has worked hard over the years to add value to these Scottish products, promoting them to markets both at home and across the world. We will continue to promote Scotland’s priorities on the international stage and are focussed on getting the best possible deals in fisheries negotiations, while working hard to get support from across Europe to fight off new burdens, and wherever possible increasing quotas of stocks of key commercial importance to maximise what our fishermen can catch.”
Also commenting on the statistics, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “These statistics highlight the importance of fishing to the Scottish economy and its crucial role in supporting fragile coastal communities.
“Whilst the figures at first glance appear to reflect a buoyant industry, they should be treated with a degree of caution because most of the increase in value and volume can be attributed to mackerel, which saw a large increase in quota last year due to the abundance of the stock.
“However, the underlying good news is that the majority of fish stocks of interest to our fishermen – such as North Sea haddock and cod – are either in good health or are heading in the right direction.
“But major challenges remain. Of particular significance is the fact that the quota allocation for whitefish was almost fully taken up in 2014. This means that when the landing obligation, or discard ban as it is known, starts to be phased-in from 1 January 2016, as things stand there is currently very little room for manoeuvre for the fleet. These landing figures therefore underline that if the discard ban is to work, there is the real need for there to be sensible compensatory quota increases to account for the fact that all fish caught will have to be landed.
“There is also the ongoing challenge that needs to be addressed of achieving the sensible balance of protecting the marine environment whilst ensuring the maximum sustainable yield from fishing. Both aims can be achieved if the right approach is taken.”
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TheFishSite News Desk