The annual fleet survey will see researchers from Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, visit over 400 ports across the length and breadth of the UK to collect data on the financial and operational performance of vessels.
The results of the survey – which will begin on Monday 15 July and run until September – play a vital role in painting a picture of the UK fishing fleet, its economic performance and the challenges it faces as it prepares for life outside of the EU.
Commenting on the survey, Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), said: “I would encourage every skipper and vessel owner to assist Seafish by taking part in the UK fleet survey. By sparing the small amount of time required to take part, you will be helping to create the most accurate picture possible of the UK fishing fleet, across boats of all sizes and the entire country.”
The full report from the 2018 UK fleet survey is expected to be published in the next few weeks, but provisional figures released earlier in the year suggested a solid year for the fleet. Annual fishing revenues stood at £978 million, a slight increase on the previous year, as a 4.8% decrease in the volume of fish landed was mitigated by a 5.3% increase on the average price per tonne landed. The rising price of fuel was considered to be a particular challenge, with total spend on fuel estimated to be 20% higher than in 2017.
Steve Lawrence, Economics Project Manager at Seafish, said: “Considering the potential changes, challenges and opportunities on the horizon, it has never been more important for us to produce an accurate picture of the UK’s fishing fleet and the pressures it faces.
“The UK fleet survey is the major piece of research into the health of the sector touching on both the economics of those that make a living from it and its social impact on communities built around it. The results are always poured over by industry, as well as those looking to understand how management measures and policies play out practically.
“We spoke to around 400 skippers and vessel owners last year and we hope to build on those numbers as well as ensuring representation from all sectors of the fleet across every type of vessel and throughout the whole of the UK.”
The survey interviews should take no longer than 15 minutes for skippers and vessel owners to complete and all responses are treated as confidential, with no figures from any individual vessel revealed in any outputs.
Vessel owners who take part can request a free financial performance benchmark report, which provides an indication of how well their vessel is performing compared to similar vessels and can help to inform business and financial decisions. Reports from previous years are available on the Seafish website as is Quay Issues, the magazine which takes a deeper dive into the stories behind the numbers and explores examples of innovative ways to make the industry more profitable, efficient, safe and sustainable.