Fishing fleet urged to take part in vital industry survey

Seafish researchers are calling on vessel owners and skippers in the Outer Hebrides, Orkney, Sutherland and Shetland to have their say on the state of the fishing industry in its 13th annual economic survey of the UK fishing fleet.

This year’s survey is travelling across the UK gathering data on fishing and vessel costs to provide a comprehensive overview of the financial and operational performance of the fishing industry.

With the UK preparing to exit the European Union, it is vital fishers provide accurate data to paint a clear picture of the performance of the industry for policy makers.

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Researchers will be visiting fishing ports between Port of Ness and Barra in the Western Isles and ports in Shetland and Orkney, as well as Inverness and Scrabster in Sutherland from July 30th until August 2nd.

Last year was a mixed one for the fishing fleet, with operating profit seeing a 4% decrease, but total fishing income rising by £38 million to reach £984 million.

Many skippers raised the uncertain political and trade landscape, the availability of fish, oil and fuel price and quota as some of their main concerns.

The 2018 survey is a chance for the industry to give up to date information on their successes and upcoming challenges, helping their voices be heard.

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This year will also include a social demographic survey, asking fishers about their age, qualifications and working arrangements, providing more insight in to the individuals in the catching sector.

The findings from this years’ survey, to be published in 2019, will be crucial for uncovering the direction the industry is moving in and give a clear insight on how fishers see the future of their industry.

Economics Project Manager at Seafish Steve Lawrence said: “We have to find out from those on the front line of the fishing industry how their economic performance has been over the past 12 months.

“This insight means we can keep all those in the sector fully informed on the health of the fleet. For us to be able to keep policy makers informed with our reports we need as many skippers and vessel owners as possible to be involved and have their say.

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“This year we are also collecting data social data about the crews working on board UK fishing vessels.

“Collecting this social data helps us to build up a much more detailed picture of the UK fishing industry.

“This rich information is vital to ensure decision makers understand how communities and livelihoods are affected by changing management measures, particularly now as we head towards EU exit and a new fisheries policy.

“We appreciate the continued support of the Scottish fishing industry and encourage all skippers and vessel owners in the area to speak to our researchers.

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“There is an added benefit for participants; all vessel owners can request a free financial performance benchmark report which allows comparisons with the average performance of similar vessels.”

The survey is supported by the national federations and local associations around the UK.

All information provided is treated as confidential and no individual vessel figures will be revealed in any report.

Anybody interested in taking part in the survey should contact Steve Lawrence at Seafish on 0131 524 8663 or email [email protected].

To view the results of last year’s report, visit the Seafish website.