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Marine / Isles’ fish landings continue on the up

FISH landings last year were among the most valuable ever recorded, according to the latest official figures.

The value of landings into Shetland by Scottish vessels (including the local fleet) rose by 11 per cent to £70.184 million while tonnage was up four per cent to 51,152 compared with 2017.

“Voyages” into Shetland by Scottish vessels also rose from 4,926 to 5,447.

There was a total of 215 fishing vessels registered in Shetland with 44 over 10m long.

There were 456 fishermen in Shetland making up 3.8 per cent of the 13,100 workforce in the isles, the highest percentage in Scotland.

The value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2018 increased by one per cent to £574 million, despite a four per cent drop in the total tonnage of fish landed.

The figures were published today (Thursday) as part of Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2018.

The statistics also show an increase in the number of people working on Scottish fishing vessels, as well as fishermen working in the industry on a regular rather than irregular basis.

Scottish fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing said: “For a small nation, in an EU member state operating within the Common Fisheries Policy, Scotland punches well above its weight in the European fishing sector.

New rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing is under pressure to sort out the mess around delayed subsidy payments for crofters and farmers.Scottish fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing.

“We have one of the largest white fish markets in Europe in Peterhead, our boats catch eight per cent of the total EU landings and the industry turnover exceeds half a billion pounds each year. Much of that money is the lifeblood of some our most vulnerable coastal communities, and so what these statistics tell us is very important.

“It’s therefore encouraging to see the total value of landings increase – although the story isn’t positive across the board, with the total shellfish tonnage dropping again. That’s a particular concern for an industry which could be one of the most adversely affected by the impacts of an EU exit, given the dependence of that sector on its export trade.

“We are working to ensure that more economic benefit is created for our coastal communities from the value of the fish being caught in Scottish waters. That is why we are introducing a landings target in this Parliament and will amend the current economic link licensing condition in our new approach to fisheries management.

He said the Scottish Government was “more focused than ever” on protecting the marine environment, and “working to the best possible scientific standards to secure the long term future of fish species.”