Fish values fall by 7% in 2012

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Provisional data published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician show that the overall quayside value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 decreased by seven per cent, compared with the record level in 2011.

However, the value of fish landed remains higher than in the decade preceding 2011.

The quantity of fish landed increased by one per cent, with Scottish vessels landing 363,800 tonnes of fish with a value of £464 million.

The total value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 was £464 million, seven per cent lower than in 2011. This decrease in total landed value is the result of reductions in the overall value of all species types.

Sadly, the number of active fishing vessels based in Scotland fell by 51 to 2,044 - the lowest number of the decade.

There was little change in the volume of fish landed between 2011 and 2012. The tonnage of pelagic fish landed increased by four per cent, whilst shellfish landings decreased by five per cent.

The tonnage of demersal species landed was similar to 2011.

The overall value of pelagic landings decreased by ten per cent to £166 million, driven by a 20 per cent decrease in the total value of mackerel compared with 2011. This decrease in mackerel value resulted from an eight per cent decrease in the volume landed and a 13 per cent decrease in the price.

Since 2011, the price of mackerel landed in the UK decreased by 18 per cent (to £939 per tonne), whilst the price of mackerel landed abroad decreased by seven per cent (to £1,008 per tonne).

This price differential may be one factor explaining why the proportion of mackerel landed abroad increased from 42 per cent to 54 per cent in 2012. Despite the decrease in price of mackerel landed abroad, the total value of these landings increased by 10 per cent, to £73 million, due to an 18 per cent increase in the quantity landed. The total value of mackerel landed in the UK decreased by 40 per cent to £58 million.

In contrast, herring landed in the UK experienced a marked increase in value of 71 per cent compared with 2011, reaching £29 million. Fifty-four thousand tonnes of herring was landed in 2012, an increase of 44 per cent, and the average price increased by 19 per cent.

The overall value of demersal landings decreased seven per cent to £143 million. Haddock, hake and whiting showed an increase in value between 2011 and 2012 (four per cent, 19 per cent and one per cent, respectively).

Hake was the only key demersal species to have a marked price increase. Haddock’s increased value resulted from a 25 per cent increase in the volume landed despite a price drop of 17 per cent. Whiting also saw a marked increase in the quantity landed (15 per cent), though price decreases resulted in only a minimal change in the value landed.

The volume of landings of all other key demersal species either fell or were similar to 2011 quantities. Compared to 2011, the price of cod in 2012 reduced by 11 per cent to £1,982 per tonne, and consequently its overall quayside value decreased by seven per cent. There was a five per cent decrease in the total value of shellfish to £155 million. 2012 saw a reduction in the value of all key shellfish species, excluding scallops, whose value was similar to that of 2011.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead commented: “These statistics show that overall the volume of landings from the Scottish fleet held up well in 2012 despite the currently austere economic trading conditions.

“Whilst the value of those landings dipped slightly compared with the previous year, given global market conditions, I’m glad to see it still remained second highest in the past 10 years.

“Higher quotas also helped to increase landings values in key stocks such as haddock and whiting. The tough market conditions we are currently experiencing demonstrate the importance of adding value to the Scottish product and promoting it to markets both at home and across the world, an area in which we continue to work actively with the industry.”