The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has published its annual UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2019. The publication is a summary of:
The UK fishing fleet
Its activity at sea: Landings – how much fish they catch and land, Effort – how long they spend at sea
Key statistics include:
In 2019, there were 5,911 UK registered fishing vessels. There are around 12,000 fishers working on UK registered vessels. This has been stable for the past decade.
Almost 80 per cent of the UK fleet is made up of vessels of 10 metres and under in length. Vessels over 24 metres in length account for just 4 per cent of the total number but for three fifths of total capacity and a third of total power.
In 2019, UK vessels landed 622 thousand tonnes of sea fish with a value of £987 million. Compared to 2018, this is a reduction of 11 per cent and 2 per cent in quantity and value respectively.
This is mainly driven by a reduction in the quota for key pelagic species e.g. mackerel between 2018 and 2019.
In 2019, 34 per cent of all landings by UK vessels into UK ports were into Peterhead. Peterhead is consistently the UK port with the largest quantity and value of landings.
Fishing effort by the over 10m fleet decreased by only 3 per cent between 2018 and 2019, following the levelling off seen since 2011. Since 2003, fishing effort by the over 10m fleet has decreased by 35 per cent.
Most of the reduction in effort is driven by a 36 per cent decline in effort (2004-2019) in the demersal trawl and seine segment.
The UK is a net importer of fish, with imports exceeding exports. The UK’s trade gap in 2019 for sea fish is 270 thousand tonnes.
In 2019, the UK imported 721 thousand tonnes of sea fish, with a value of £3,457 million. It exported 452 thousand tonnes with a value of £2,004 million.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) regulates the seas around England, including the management of fisheries.
The MMO has the difficult balancing task of ensuring that stocks are managed throughout the year to maximise fishing opportunities for the UK industry, while ensuring that stocks are not overfished and the UK government and taxpayer does not have to pay steep penalties.
We are continually working with the fishing industry to improve day-to-day management with accurate catch limits and forecasts that secure longer fisheries, while safeguarding the welfare of fish stocks.