Scottish fishing industry ‘stable’

Scottish fishing industry ‘stable’ – The number of Scottish-based fishing boats and jobs in the industry has remained stable, according to official figures.

Despite concerns about the industry, because of measures taken to prevent declining fish stocks, the number of vessels stood at 2,394 last year, compared to 2,395 in 2003.

The number of people working in the fish-catching sector in Scotland also showed little change, with 5,275 employed last year compared to 5,276 the year before.

The value of sea fish landings by Scottish-based vessels increased by 7% to £300 million in 2004, according to the statistics published by the Scottish Executive.

Although the number of fishermen regularly employed on vessels was 156 higher last year (4,124) compared to 2003, the number working mainly part-time in 2004 fell 15% to 1,052 from the previous year.

Landings increased by 9% to 427,300 tonnes, which accounted for 65% by weight and 59% by value of all landings by UK vessels last year.

There was a 9% increase in landings into Scotland by UK and foreign vessels from 379,000 tonnes in 2003 to 412,500 tonnes in 2004. Their value increased by 11% to £313 million.

Overall the figures showed that 71% of the total volume of sea fish landed into the UK in 2004 was at a Scottish port.

There were reductions in the number of fishing boats at eight of Scotland’s 18 fishing ports.

The largest decreases in activity were at Peterhead, Oban and Portree, on Skye, but researchers said there was no clear geographical pattern, with losses in one district balanced by gains in others.

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