Fleet statistics

The Seafish economics team has published annual reports, based on its economic surveys of the UK fishing fleet. The 'Quay Issues: 2014 Economics of the UK Fishing Fleet' includes the most recent nationwide costs and earnings data on the UK catching sector.

The study presents the latest economics information on 33 segments of the commercially active UK fishing fleet. The main findings of the research are:

  • Total fishing income increased by 16% in 2014 compared to 2013, with £868million worth of fish landed by the UK fishing fleet. The increase in fishing income can largely be attributed to a significant increase in the volume of pelagic species landed. Provisional estimates for 2015 show total fishing income decreasing by 11% to £772million.
  • In 2015, the number of active fishing vessels fell from 4,565 in 2014 to 4,536 (provisional figures) with over 2,000 vessels classified as inactive. A further 1,700 vessels were classified as low activity vessels having generated less than £10,000 in
    fishing income in 2015.
  • Seafish estimates that total expenditure on marine fuel was £142million in 2014 (a 5%decrease on 2013 expenditure) and £96million in 2015 (32% decrease from 2014). Fuel cost as a proportion of total income was an estimated 16% in 2014 and 12% in 2015, this being the lowest proportion of total income at any point during the during the last tenyears. The third quarter of 2014 saw a substantial decrease in the price of marine diesel and by the end of 2015 the UK average price per litre sat at just below 30 pence per litre. Most improvements to fleet performance in 2014 and 2015 can largely be attributed to the lower fuel price.
  • Total UK fleet operating profit was £216million in 2014 amounting to a 54% increase from 2013. An estimated £157million of net profit was generated in 2014, equal to 17% of total income.
  • When ambitions for the next few years were discussed, answers were, as always, mixed. Those who had experienced a strong performance in recent years tended to be more optimistic, whereas business owners who had struggled had a more pessimistic outlook. With uncertainty persisting as to how the landing obligation is to be implemented and the
    continued unpredictability of quota availability, market prices and, of course, the weather, many felt that long-term planning was a near impossible task

The full report can be read here.

The latest Seafish Fleet Economic Performance Dataset can be read here.

Reports from previous years can be accessed at our archive here.