Seafish has launched its annual survey of the UK fishing fleet, reports Paul Scott.

Its researchers will be visiting fishing ports around the UK over the course of the summer to conduct interviews for the survey, which began in Peterhead last week.

The survey asks vessel owners and skippers to share how their business has fared over the previous 12 months. Questions include enquiries about the financial performance of a business, and crew demographics.

Seafish says that the answers provided help to ‘paint a picture for policy-makers of the challenges the fleet faces in an ever-changing political and economic landscape’.

Nick Patience, fleet survey project lead and economist at Seafish, said: “The UK fishing fleet survey is a vital piece of research that explores the health of the sector, covering its economic challenges and deeply important social impact on the communities built around it.

“The results are essential in helping government understand where costs are changing, how businesses are really performing and what is charting its course.

“We would encourage as many fishing businesses and vessel owners as possible to take part in this year’s survey, so that every voice can be heard and represented in our confidential evidence-sharing with government.”

Interviews take no longer than 15 minutes to complete, and Seafish says that all responses are treated as strictly confidential, with ‘no figures from any individual vessel revealed in any outputs’.

Any fishing business that takes part can also request a free benchmark report comparing its vessel’s economic performance to similar vessels, which can help identify areas where improvements can be made. The benchmark report can also be used as evidence in grant or loan applications.

Scottish White Fish Producers’ Organisation CEO Mike Park, said: “All forms of data are required to carry out a successful business. Economic data is perhaps the most crucial of those.

“More recently with the Scottish government, I’ve used Seafish economic data to put a case forward with others for funding for the fleet. That’s the fourth time in the last decade I have done that. And without that data, it would have been difficult to create that argument.

“The data can also be used by you as a vessel owner or operator to benchmark your performance against other similar vessels. It can allow your PO to see how they’re performing in terms of sections of the fleet and how they perform against other POs. And crucially, it allows us to understand how we as a seafood nation are performing against other seafood nations.

“So I would encourage every skipper out there, every owner out there, to allow Seafish to come in and harvest your data.”

Outputs from the 2021 survey, including the ‘Employment in the UK Fishing Fleet’ report and Quay Issues magazine, are available on the Seafish website here.

Vessel owners and skippers wanting to take part in this year’s fleet survey are asked to email their name, port of operation, email address and/ or telephone number to:

For questions about the survey, contact the fleet survey team on: 07870 894 035 or via the above email address.

Further information is available here.

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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