Marine Scotland has published the Provisional Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics for 2021, showing an increase of 11% in landings of seafish and shellfish on 2020.

The statistics include a summary of provisional data on landings by Scottish-registered vessels, the size of the Scottish fleet, numbers of fishermen working in Scotland, and UK quota uptake in 2021.

The figures show that in 2021, Scottish-registered vessels landed 437,000t of seafish and shellfish with a value of £542m. This represents an increase of 38,000t (10%) and an increase of £54m (11%) in real terms from 2020.

Compared to 2012, in 2021 the tonnage of fish landed was up 20%, and the real-terms value was down 2%.

Overall in 2021, the pelagic sector saw increases in tonnage and value compared to 2020, driven by an 8% increase in landings of mackerel.

Mackerel remains the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet, accounting for 36% (£196m) of the total value of Scottish landings in 2021.

In 2021, Scottish-registered vessels landed 8% more mackerel by weight (185,000t in total) and 8% more by value in real terms compared to 2020.

Of the total weight of mackerel landed by Scottish vessels, 46% was landed into Scotland and 54% was landed abroad.

The value of demersal landings in 2021 saw a small decrease (1% in real terms) compared to 2020. Monkfish, haddock and cod were the most valuable demersal species to the Scottish fleet.

In 2021, 13,000t of monkfish worth £34m was landed, an increase of 10% in weight and 12% in value compared to 2020.

The value of haddock landings in 2021 decreased by 11% in real terms to £29m, while tonnage landed decreased by 14% to 20,000t.

The value of cod landings in 2021 fell by 17% to £20m compared to 2020, while tonnage landed decreased by 31% to 6,000t.

Overall, the shellfish sector saw large increases in tonnage (18%) and value (28%) in 2021 compared to 2020.

Most main shellfish species saw increases in both tonnage and value. In particular, there was a 41% increase in landings of Nephrops. Covid-19 restrictions had a particularly large impact on the shellfish sector in 2020, and these increases indicate signs of recovery in 2021.

In 2021, the total value of Nephrops landings was £70m, 50% more in real terms than in 2020.

The number of active Scottish fishing vessels in 2021 was 2,086, a decrease of two on 2020.

The methodology used to calculate the number of fishermen has changed since the previous publication. If a vessel is registered as active but has not made any landings in the year in question, its employment figures are not counted.

Information on whether fishermen are crofters is also no longer collected, and information on crofters from earlier years is now included with irregular fishermen.

These changes have been applied to all years from 2013 onwards, and have resulted in a reduction of around 10% in the total number of fishermen in each year when compared to the 2020 Sea Fisheries Statistics publication.

In 2021, the overall number of fishermen working on Scottish vessels was reported at 4,241, which is 2% down on the revised figure for 2020.

Compared to 2020, there has been a 2% decrease in those regularly employed, with irregular employment increasing by 2%.

Uptake of quota was high for mackerel for the West of Scotland at 102%, but lower for the North Sea at 60%. Quota uptake for herring was high in the North Sea at 103%, but fairly low in the West of Scotland at 32%.

Haddock quota uptake varied from 45% in West of Scotland VIb to 68% in West of Scotland VIa and Vb. Cod quota uptake was high in both the North Sea (98%) and West of Scotland VIa and Vb (99.9%).

Quota uptake for Nephrops was high in the North Sea at 88%, and lower in the West of Scotland at 60%.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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