Fishing industry in 2018 statistics published

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has published its annual UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2018 on its website.

It includes details on the UK fleet, the number of fishermen, the quantity and value of UK landings, international trade, worldwide fishing and the state of key stocks.

The report highlights that in 2018:

  • The quantity of sea fish landed by UK vessels has decreased by 4 per cent however the value of landings has increased by 1 per cent in value from 2017.

  • UK vessels landed 698 thousand tonnes of sea fish into the UK and abroad with a value of £989 million.

  • UK fleet landings abroad fell to 272 thousand tonnes compared with 291 thousand tonnes in 2017, almost entirely down to a decrease in mackerel landings.

  • Mackerel landings fell to 191 thousand tonnes from 227 thousand tonnes in 2017, but still made up a substantial 27 per cent of UK fleet landings.

  • The Scottish and Northern Irish fleets caught mainly pelagic fish. The English landed mainly demersal species and the Welsh caught mostly shellfish.

  • The UK fishing fleet remained seventh largest in the EU in terms of vessel numbers, with the second largest capacity and fourth largest engine power.

  • Seventy four per cent of the quantity landed by the UK fleet was caught by vessels over 24 metres in length which accounted for 4 per cent of the total number of UK vessels. These vessels tend to catch lower value pelagic fish.

  • Around 12,000 fishermen were active in the UK. Approximately 2,400 were part-time.

  • Scottish vessels accounted for 64 per cent of the quantity of landings by the UK fleet while English vessels accounted for 27 per cent.

  • Once again, Peterhead was the port with the highest UK fleet landings – 154 thousand tonnes with a value of £169 million.

  • Brixham had the highest value of UK fleet landings in England – £36 million (of mainly high value shellfish), this was £5 million lower than in 2017 due to a drop in the quantity of fish landed into Brixham in 2018.

  • Imports of fish were down by 31 thousand tonnes to 674 thousand tonnes. Exports also fell, by 12 thousand tonnes to 448 thousand tonnes.

  • World figures for 2017 showed that China caught the largest amount of fish, 13.0 million tonnes. Indonesia had the second largest catch at 6.2 million tonnes.

The full report, and more detailed supplementary tables, can be seen at UK Annual Sea Fisheries Statistics


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.

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