Catch value by UK fleet exceeds  £1bn for the first time

Provisional statistics released by the MMO last month indicated that the annual catch value for the UK fleet exceeded £1bn for the first time in 2018, when vessels landed 696,318t for a record value of £1,004,812,000, reports David Linkie

UK under-10m boats landed catches totalling 36,045t for £112.4m in 2018, of which crab and lobster accounted for more than £55m.

UK under-10m boats landed catches totalling 36,045t for £112.4m in 2018, of which crab and lobster accounted for more than £55m.

The initial estimated 2018 totals represent a 3% rise in annual value, and a 4% drop in tonnage, compared to the respective 2017 totals of £980m from 724,333t.

Of the 2018 catches from UK vessels, 424,075t for £731.4m was landed into British ports. These figures represent an increase of 1% on the 2017 total value of £720.7m, and a 2% reduction on the annual tonnage of 434,057t, and reflect a 4% rise in the average price (£/t) to £1,731 for 2018, compared to the previous year’s value of £1,663.

Landings by UK vessels abroad totalled £273.5m from 272,243t last year, and represent a rise of 5% in catch value and a 6% reduction in tonnage on the 2017 totals of £259.4m and 290,276t. The average price per tonne for all species landed abroad was 12% higher at £1,009. The pelagic sector recorded the biggest average price rise of 22%, double that of demersal species at 11%. The average price for shellfish landings abroad dropped by 3%. In terms of individual species, plaice showed the biggest percentage increase of 37%, followed by Nephrops (35%), mackerel (33%) and crabs (13%).

Table 1: 2018 top 20 species by value landed into the UK and abroad by UK vessels
Species Value 2018 Value 2017 Value % change 2018/2017 Tonnage 2018 Tonnage 2017 Tonnage % change 2018/2017 Price £/t 2018 Price £/t 2017 Price £/t % change 2018/2017
Mackerel £226,007,000 £241,022,000 -6% 191,077t 226,458t -15% £1,183 £1,066 10%
Nephrops £83,129,000 £96,658,000 -13% 25,473t 29,867t -15% £3,265 £3,237 1%
Crabs £79,060,000 £62,061,000 27% 34,692t 35,980t -4% £2,280 £1,725 32%
Cod £70,321,000 £59,722,000 18% 34,507t 35,902t -4% £2,094 £2,046 2%
Scallops £69,989,000 £73,042,000 -10% 29,216t 32,136t -9% £2,400 £2,278 5%
Monkfish £59,117,000 £57,253,000 3% 18,637t 19,640t -5% £3,006 £2,947 2%
Haddock £51,457,000 £51,044,000 1% 35,544t 34,008t 5% £1,449 £1,508 -4%
Herring £45,311,000 £35,783,000 27% 103,573t 83,687t 24% £438 £420 4%
Lobsters £44,144,000 £43,412,000 2% 3,048t 3,294t -7% £14,484 £13,189 10%
Hake £27,851,000 £31,426,000 -11% 12,742t 14,591t -12% £2,191 £2,156 2%
Squid £25,419,000 £24,949,000 2% 7,774t 7,360t 6% £3,417 £3,954 -15%
Plaice £22,878,000 £23,443,000 -2% 12,233t 17,618t -31% £1,871 £1,376 36%
Whelks £21,983,000 £22,939,000 -4% 17,992t 20,927t -14% £1,222 £1,096 11%
Sole £18,674,000 £16,726,000 11% 1,853t 1,828t 13% £10,082 £9,157 10%
Blue whiting £16,651,000 £14,499,000 15% 72,884t 68,133t 7% £228 £213 7%
Cuttlefish £14,861,000 £25,064,000 -40% 3,965t 6,999t -44% £3,758 £3,593 5%
Megrim £14,782,000 £13,361,000 10% 4,947t 4,498t 10% £3,006 £2,977 1%
Whiting £14,602,000 £12,521,000 17% 11,667t 10,154t 15% £1,253 £1,234 2%
Saithe £12,961,000 £11,389,000 14% 15,995t 11,789t 35% £881 £990 11%
Ling £8,876,000 £8,680,000 2% 5,759t 5,285t 9% £1,545 £1,645 -6%
Total all species £1,004,812,000 £980,065 3% 696,318t 724,333t -4% £1,449 £1,358 7%
Source: Fisheries administrations in the UK
Brown crab moved from fifth position to third in terms of annual catch value, as a result of a 32% rise in average price value to £2,280 per tonne in 2018.

Brown crab moved from fifth position to third in terms of annual catch value, as a result of a 32% rise in average price value to £2,280 per tonne in 2018.

With a value of £358.6m from 134,850t, shellfish landings by the UK fleet were slightly ahead of demersal catches worth £349.3m (175,780t), while pelagic species contributed a further £296.9m (385,688t).

A similar ranking order by species, but with a wider differential, applied to landings by UK vessels into UK ports, with shellfish totalling £325.1m, demersal £285.7m and pelagic £120.5m. Under this criteria, mackerel (£94.5m) is the single most valuable species, followed by Nephrops (£78.6m), scallops (£69.6m), crabs (£68m), cod (£54.4m), haddock (£50.9m), monkfish (£47.3m) and lobsters (£43.6m).

The pattern changes significantly when the focus is landings abroad by UK vessels, with pelagic catches of £176.5m well ahead of demersal (£63.5m) and shellfish (£33.5m).

By value, mackerel (£226m/191,077t) was the single most important species landed by UK vessels into the UK and abroad in 2018, followed by Nephrops (£83.1m/25,473t).

Landings by UK vessels into the UK and abroad.

Demersal landing values: UK vessels into the UK and abroad

At £226m, mackerel was the single most valuable species landed by UK vessels in 2018.

At £226m, mackerel was the single most valuable species landed by UK vessels in 2018.

As a result of a 32% increase in quayside prices, associated with high levels of demand from markets in China, crabs (£79m/34,692t) moved into third position, replacing scallops (£70m/29,216t) which dropped to fifth place. A 14% price rise kept cod (£70.3m/34,507t) in fourth place in the value table, therefore being the most valuable demersal species, ahead of monkfish (£59.1m/18,673t) and haddock (£51.5m/35,544t). Herring (£45.3m/103,573t) moved from 10th to eighth place, ahead of lobsters (£44.1m/3,048t) and hake (£27.9m/12,742t).

In terms of annual value, shellfish again occupied three of the top five places in the 2018 catch value table, with Nephrops, crabs and scallops contributing to an aggregate total of £232.1m.

The characteristic mixed nature of catches by UK vessels was further illustrated by the fact that outside of the top 10, a further nine species – squid, plaice, whelks, sole, blue whiting, cuttlefish, megrim, whiting and saithe – all returned values in excess of £10m. (Table 1)

Of the £731.4m from 424,075t that UK vessels landed into harbours in England, N Ireland, Scotland and Wales last year, the under-10m fleet contributed £112.4m from 36,045t. Of this total, shellfish (£89.8m) accounted for 80%.

Table 2: UK top 25 ports in 2018 by value of landings from UK vessels
Port Value 2018 Value 2017 Value 2016 Tonnage 2018 Tonnage 2017 Tonnage 2016
Peterhead £178,977,000 £165,794,000 £157,600,000 152,670t 151,917t 145,364t
Lerwick £45,758,000 £40,994,000 £51,835,000 41,772t 39,133t 51,154t
Fraserburgh £41,838,000 £45,617,000 £36,062,000 27,034t 26,234t 21,740t
Scrabster £37,130,000 £30,328,000 £32,386,000 17,505t 14,475t 15,997t
Brixham £35,712,000 £40,151,000 £30,724,000 12,346t 14,993t 13,262t
Newlyn £29,817,000 £29,674,000 £27,309,000 13,939t 13,505t 14,108t
Ullapool £17,896,000 £14,438,000 £15,319,000 8,861t 7,777t 6,985t
Shoreham £16,883,000 £11,735,000 £7,878,000 7,644t 5,617t 4,042t
Kinlochbervie £16,648,000 £15,530,000 £14,892,000 7,915t 8,006t 8,175t
Scalloway and isles £16,169,000 £15,844,000 £12,769,000 7,804t 7,896t 7,872t
Plymouth £11,067,000 £15,652,000 £14,701,000 6,255t 10,564t 11,317t
Bridlington £10,307,000 £9,526,000 £8,729,000 3,521t 3,230t 3,512t
Kilkeel £8,465,000 £9,358,000 £9,001,000 4,491t 4,637t 4,596t
Grimsby £8,053,000 £8,291,000 £7,346,000 3,810t 4,678t 4,580t
Scarborough £6,700,000 £6,386,000 £5,697,000 2,271t 1,908t 1,934t
Mallaig £5,369,000 £8,833,000 £11,091,000 1,782t 4,134t 5,807t
Pittenweem £5,360,000 £4,308,000 £3,461,000 973t 979t 1,264
Portavogie £5,217,000 £6,336,000 £6,551,000 2,460t 2,928t 3,404t
Eyemouth £5,007,000 £4,299,000 £2,651,000 1,197t 1,080t 704t
Ardglass £4,797,000 £4,708,000 £5,917,000 2,275t 2,238t 3,404t
North Shields £4,057,000 £5,280,000 £6,105,000 1,470t 1,951t 2,405t
Belfast £4,056,000 £3,838,000 £3,436,000 7,602t 6,275t 5,838t
Buckie £3,869,000 £4,077,000 £3,948,000 1,027t 1,333t 1,273t
Kirkcudbright £3,237,000 £3,504,000 £4,783,000 1,711t 2,158t 3,480t
Campbeltown £2,948,000 £3,097,000 £4,029,000 705t 1,313t 1,808t
Total all UK ports £731,356,000 £705,626,000 £691,400,000 424,075t 428,807t 445,069t
Source: Fisheries Administrations in the UK

Shellfish landing price per kg: UK vessels into the UK and abroad.

UK vessels' value of landings into UK ports, 2015-2018 Landings by UK vessels into the main English ports, 2015-2018 Landings by UK vessels into the main Scottish ports, 2015-2018

Lobsters (£29.2m/2,026t) were the most valuable species when viewed from the perspective of under-10m fishermen, followed by crabs (£25.9m/10,852t), Nephrops (£12.1m/2,678t), whelks (£8.6m/6,741t) and scallops (£5.6m/2,591t). Sole (£5m/573t) was the top demersal species for the under-10m fleet, followed by bass (£4m/396t), pollack (£1.6m/574t), plaice (£1.4m/817t) and skates and rays (£1.2m/872t). Some of these species were separated in the annual value table by mackerel (£2.2m/1,676t), cuttlefish (£1.3m/338t) and squid (£1.2m/872t).

In terms of annual catch value, crabs and herring recorded the biggest increases, of 27%, followed by cod (18%), whiting (17%), blue whiting (15%) and saithe (14%).

Cuttlefish (-40%) was subject to the biggest drop in terms of value, followed by Nephrops (-13%), hake (-11%) and scallops (-10%).

Pelagic landing values: UK vessels into the UK and abroad.

The average price per tonne for all species landed by the UK fleet increased by 7% to £1,449 last year, compared to £1,358 for the previous year. The £/t for landings into the UK rose 4% to £1,731 from £1,663, while landings abroad rose from £899 to £1,009 per tonne, an increase of 12%.

Within the UK, British boats landed catches totalling £207m/92,728t into England, £25m/18,642t into N Ireland, £473.8m/300,368t into Scotland, and £15.2m/7,341t into Wales.

Peterhead continued to be the UK’s top port in 2018, with annual landings by British vessels of £179m and 152,670t.

Peterhead continued to be the UK’s top port in 2018, with annual landings by British vessels of £179m and 152,670t.

Shellfish (£139.1m/58,022t) accounted for 58% of landings in England, including scallops (£36.7m/15,240t), crabs (£33.1m/14,459t), lobsters (£22m/1,558t), cuttlefish (£14.8m/3,931t), whelks (£13m/10,787t) and Nephrops (£7m/2,087t). In terms of demersal species, totalling £62.5m/22,180t, sole (£15.8m/1,534t) occupied first place, well ahead of monkfish (£6.5m/1,988t), hake (£4.8m/1,890t), plaice (£4.6m/2,413t), turbot (£4.2m/391t), bass (£3.6m/355t) and lemon sole (£3.4m/666t). Sardines contributed £2.8m/8,016t to the pelagic total of £5.6m/12,526t.

Nephrops (£11.9m/5,061t) dominated landings in N Ireland, well ahead of scallops (£2.3m/965t) and crabs (£2m/1,245t). Demersal species contributed £3.7m to the annual total, of which haddock accounted for £2.1m from 1,578t and monkfish £0.5m from 188t. On the pelagic front, mackerel (£2.3m/2,379t) led the way, ahead of herring (£1.8m/5,236t).

Catch value in Scotland was more evenly balanced, with demersal species accounting for £217.1m, shellfish £145.9m and pelagic £110.8m. Mackerel (£91.2m/76,956t) was the most valuable species, ahead of Nephrops (£59.5m/17,506t). Cod (£50.6m/21,648t) replaced haddock (£47.7m/32,614t) as the main demersal species landed in Scottish ports, ahead of monkfish (£40m/12,706t), hake (£20.1m/9,266t), whiting (£13.5m/10,345t), saithe (£10.6m/13,284t) and ling (£8.5m/5,441t). Crabs (£30m/11,228t), scallops (£21.5m/8,657t), lobsters (£17.7m/1,157t) and herring (£15.9m/43,416t) also made significant contributions.

Brixham retained its position as the leading port in England.

Brixham retained its position as the leading port in England.

In Wales, shellfish accounted for £12.8m (6,516t) of the total annual catch value of £15.2m (7,341t). Whelks (£5.8m/4,493t) were the top species landed, ahead of lobsters (£2.5m/192t), scallops (£2.3m/192t) and crabs (£1.6m/781t). From the demersal totals of £2.3m from 824t, at £0.7m/211t, megrim had almost double the value of monkfish (£0.37m/124t), followed by bass (£0.7m/73t) and skates/rays (£0.23m/198t).

The top four ports in Scotland by catch value from UK vessels, Peterhead (£179m/152,670t), Lerwick (£45.8m/41,772t), Fraserburgh (£41.8m/27,034t) and Scrabster (£37.1m/17,505t), also occupied the first four places in the listing of the UK’s top 25 ports for landings by UK vessels only. (Table 2)

Other leading Scottish landing centres were Ullapool (£17.9m/8,861t), Kinlochbervie (£16.7m/7,915t), and Scalloway and isles (£16.2m/7,804t).

Brixham (£35.7m/12,346t) was the leading port in England, followed by Newlyn (£29.8m/19,939t), Shoreham (£16.9m/7,644t), Plymouth (£11m/6,255t) and Bridlington (£10.3m/3,521t).

In Northern Ireland, Kilkeel (£8.5m/4,491t) led the way from the neighbouring Co Down ports of Portavogie (£5.2m/2,460t) and Ardglass (£4.8m/2,275t).

Table 3: 2018 top 12 species by value landed by UK under-10m vessels
Species Value

2018

Value

2017

Value

2016

Tonnage

2018

Tonnage

2017

Tonnage

2016

Price £/t 2018 Price £/t 2017 Price £/t 2016
Lobsters £29,227,000 £28,983,000 £26,799,000 2,026t 2,198t 2,216t £14,450 £13,187 £12,095
Crabs £25,989,000 £20,390,000 £17,662,000 10,852t 11,769t 12,406t £2,395 £1,739 £1,424
Nephrops £12,078,000 £12,630,000 £16,951,000 2,678t 2,198t 3,540t £4,510 £4,249 £4,789
Whelks £8,643,000 £10,490,000 £11,135,000 6,714t 9,662t 11,089t £1,287 £1,086 £1,004
Scallops £5,601,000 £6,708,000 £6,275,000 2,591t 2,611t 2,757t £2,162 £2,575 £2,277
Sole £4,995,000 £4,280,000 £3,942,000 573t 562t 528t £8,651 £7,628 £7,503
Bass £3,974,000 £3,571,000 £4,147,000 396t 359t 453t £10,035 £9,956 £9,203
Mackerel £2,244,000 £2,647,000 £1,883,000 1,676t 2,118t 1,857t £1,341 £1,254 £988
Pollack £1,609,000 £1,672,000 £1,439,000 574t 646t 650t £2,802 £2,589 £2,213
Plaice £1,379,000 £989,000 £765,000 817t 789t 689t £1,688 £1,255 £1,095
Cuttlefish £1,294,000 £2,622,000 £2,055,000 338t 697t 915t £3,827 £3,763 £2,245
Squid £1,239,000 £1,204,000 £823,000 326t 353t 273t £3,802 £3,908 £3,019
Skates and rays £1,210,000 £1,067,000 £942,000 872t 734t 663t £1,390 £1,460 £1,430
Total £112,355,000 £108,469,000 £108,343,000 36,045t 42,418t 43,413t £3,117 £2,566 £2,499
Source: Fisheries Administration in the UK