- By Region
A 69 per cent increase in the market price of herring, once the food of the very poor, contributed to a sharp rise in the value of fish landed by UK vessels in 2011, according to new statistics from the Marine Management Organisation.
A total of 600,000 tonnes of sea fish and shellfish worth £828m was landed, a 1 per cent drop in quantity compared with 2010 but a 15 per cent increase in value. This was because of a rise of more than 40 per cent in the average price of pelagic fish (deep sea species), because of factors including reduced supply. Blue whiting notched up a 124 per cent price increase.
The 2011 statistics show the UK had 6,444 fishing vessels, a 17 per cent drop over the decade and a decrease of 2,600 to 12,400 in the number of fishermen in UK-registered vessels. Days spent at sea by vessels over 10m in length fell in the decade by 42 per cent.
The UK’s fishing fleet was the sixth biggest in the European Union by vessel numbers in 2011 – the biggest was Greece with 16,663. The UK’s fleet was second in capacity, behind Spain, and fourth, behind Italy, France and Spain, in power.
The MMO report also shows the divergence in character of the English and Scottish fleet. While the English fleet is heavily focused on small vessels catching higher value species in inshore waters, the Scottish fleet has moved towards higher capacity vessels catching pelagic fish in large, more distant seas.
Scottish vessels accounted for 60 per cent of the quantity and value of landings by UK vessels in 2011, against 28 per cent and 30 per cent respectively for English vessels.