Annual fishing fleet survey returns as our researchers head to ports across UK

Fishing vessel owners and skippers are encouraged to take part in our annual survey of the UK fishing fleet.

This year’s survey begins on Monday 5 July and will run throughout the summer. Fishing industry leaders have called on owners and skippers to take part.

The annual socio-economic survey asks questions about the financial performance of fishing businesses and demographics of their crew. It gives owners and skippers the chance to share how their business has faired in the last 12 months through changes such as the pandemic and Brexit. All responses are treated as confidential, with no figures from individual vessels revealed.  

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that last year’s survey had to take place by post and online. However, the easing of restrictions means that researchers will visit ports and harbours over the summer. Our field researchers Juan Carlos Paredes Esclapez, Oscar Wilkie and Joe Cooper all return to work on the survey for a third year. They will follow local guidance and health and safety protocols as they meet vessel owners and skippers.

Fleet survey researchers Juan Carlos Paredes Esclapez, Oscar Wilkie and Joe Cooper pictured in Peterhead port during the 2019 fleet survey

Commenting on the launch of the 2021 fleet survey, Marta Moran-Quintana, Economic Analyst, said:

We’re delighted that our fleet researchers will be able to meet owners and skippers face to face again. Normally about 70% of the fishermen we meet in ports agree to complete the survey. We hope that owners and skippers will again be willing to spare some time to chat with Carlos, Oscar and Joe about their businesses and crew. 

The fleet survey provides data which is useful to the industry at all levels. From national federations seeking to influence government to individual owners making decisions for their business. It’s only by speaking with all types of fishing businesses that we can provide accurate, comprehensive and current data for the industry.
Marta Moran-Quintana, Economic Analyst

Industry figures from across the country have called on vessel owners to take part in the survey. Mike Park from SWFPA, Harry Wick from NIFPO and NUTFA’s Jerry Percy are among those who have spoken out in support of the survey. They have recorded short video messages which highlight reasons for fishing businesses to take part. These will be shared from our social media channels in the coming weeks. 

Individual fishing businesses who take part can opt to receive a free benchmark report. This compares their vessel’s economic performance to similar vessels which can help identify areas where improvements can be made. They can also be used as evidence in grant or loan applications. Vessel owners who requested a benchmark report after taking part in last year’s survey should receive it next few weeks.

Our Economics of the UK Fishing Fleet report for 2020 will be published later in the year. The full economic performance dataset has already been released and our Fleet Enquiry Tool has been updated. (opens in a new tab/window) The data shows that the total operating profit of the fleet last year fell by almost a fifth (from £264 million in 2019 to £214 million in 2020.) Turnover, which had been above the £1 billion mark for the previous three years, fell to £843 million. The results are based on last year’s survey results as well as preliminary landings data.

How can I take part in the survey?

Vessel owners and skippers who are willing to participate in the fleet survey are asked to email with their

  • name
  • email and/or phone number
  • port of operation

This will allow a meeting with a researcher to be arranged in port or by a telephone or video call.