The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has published its annual UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2020.
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
  • Trade

Key statistics include:


The number of total UK fishers decreased by 6 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. This amounted to about 700 fewer jobs in the catching sector. The decrease was likely driven by the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past decade however, the number of fishers working on UK vessels has been stable at around 12,000.


In 2020, UK vessels landed 623 thousand tonnes of fish into the UK and abroad with a value of £831 million. Compared to 2019, this is a slight increase in the quantity of sea fish landed and a 16 per cent decrease in value landed.

The value of pelagic landings between 2019 and 2020 increased by 14 per cent. The increase in quantity and value landed is driven by an increase in quotas for key pelagic species.
Shellfish landings decreased by 18 per cent while their value decreased by 33 per cent. The price per tonne fetched for shellfish species decreased considerably more than demersal and pelagic species, down 20 per cent compared to 8 per cent for both demersal and pelagic species.


The UK is a net importer of fish, with imports exceeding exports. The UK’s trade gap in 2020 for sea fish is 248 thousand tonnes. Compared to 2019, imports were down by 7 per cent, leading to narrowing of the crude trade gap which decreased by 8 per cent compared to 2019.

In 2020, the UK imported 672 thousand tonnes of fish, with a value of £3,206 million and exported 423 thousand tonnes of fish, with a value of £1,627 million. Salmon was most exported, and tuna was the most imported fish by quantity.

View the full report, tables and underlying datasets

Notes to editors:

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.
Further information is available from our website


Tel: 0300 123 1032

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    Fishing industry in 2020 statistics published

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