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Press release

Annual UK fishing industry report published

Date issued: 26 September 2013
Reference: 07/13

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) publishes its annual 'UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2012' report today.

The report includes detailed figures on the UK fishing fleet, the number of fishermen, the quantity and value of landings, international trade and the state of key fishing stocks.

The quantity of fish has increased, while the value has decreased, primarily due to a reduction in the average price of pelagic fish, driven by a fall in the market prices of mackerel.

The report highlights that in 2012:

  • UK vessels landed 627,000 tonnes of sea fish (including shellfish) into the UK and abroad with a value of £770 million – a 5 per cent increase in quantity but a 7 per cent decrease in value compared with 2011.
  • Landings of demersal fish increased by 1 per cent between 2011 and 2012, although the quantity has fallen by 24 per cent since 2002. Haddock – the highest caught demersal species landed by UK vessels – rose by nearly a fifth from 2011 to 35,000 tonnes. Pelagic and shellfish landings both increased by 7 per cent since 2011.
  • Shellfish accounted for the largest share in terms of value (39 per cent). Demersal fish accounted for 34 per cent (down from 47 per cent in 2002) and pelagic fish accounted for 27 per cent.
  • Shellfish also had the majority of landings by the UK fleet into England, Wales and Northern Ireland while pelagic fish had the highest share of landings into Scotland.
  • The UK fishing fleet remained the sixth largest in the EU in terms of vessel numbers, with the second largest capacity and fourth largest power. 6,406 fishing vessels were registered with a total capacity of 201,000 GT and total power of 804,000 kilowatts.
  • 69 per cent of the quantity landed by the UK fleet was caught by vessels over 24 metres in length – 4 per cent of the total number of UK vessels.
  • Around 12,450 fishermen were reported as active in the UK. Of these, around 2,200 were part-time.
  • Scottish vessels accounted for 58 per cent of the quantity of landings by UK vessels while English vessels accounted for 30 per cent. Peterhead remained the port with the highest landings – 106,000 tonnes.
  • Imports of fish and processed fish rose to 754,000 tonnes, a 5 per cent increase from 2011. Over the same period, exports increased by 7 per cent to 466,000 tonnes.
  • World figures for 2011 showed that China caught the largest amount of fish, 13.7 million tonnes. Peru had the second largest catch at 8.2 million tonnes. Indonesia, the United States and Russia each caught between 4.0 and 5.4 million tonnes.

The full report, and more detailed supplementary tables, can be seen at

Notes to editors

The 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, whilst 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.

The MMO, through the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), awards millions of pounds every year to the fishing industry and coastal communities.

Contact information

Marine Management Organisation
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 376 2543
Email: media@