Fishing data and insight

We gather and analyse economic performance data about commercial fishing in the UK together with fleet numbers, landing figures and employment.

UK Fishing Fleet 2020 statistics

Access our latest report on the Economics of the UK Fishing Fleet and our new Fleet Enquiry Tool which makes it easy to analyse and visualise data on the economic performance, landings and activity of the UK's fishing fleet. It also shows the performance of different classes of vessel over time.

We have produced this tutorial video to support new users of our Fleet Enquiry Tool.

What size is the UK commercial fishing fleet?

  • In 2019 there were 4,491 active fishing vessels in the UK. Around 74% of these vessels were under 10 meters in length and tended to operate in inshore waters (less than six miles from the shore).
  • By country, 2,154 (48%) of those active vessels were based in England and 1,183 (38%) were based in Scotland. There were 291 active vessel in Wales and 243 in Northern Ireland.

What are the turnover and profit of the UK fishing fleet?

In 2019, turnover of the UK fishing fleet was £1 billion. Operating profit was £240 million.

What does the UK fishing fleet land?

The UK fishing fleet landed 620 thousand tonnes of fish and shellfish in 2019. 

By weight, the top species landed by the UK fleet in 2019 were:

  • Mackerel (152,000 tonnes)
  • Herring (75,000 tonnes)
  • Blue whiting (61,000 tonnes)
  • Langoustine (also known as Nephrops, 35,000 tonnes)
  • Haddock (34,000 tonnes)

By value, the top species landed by the UK fleet in 2019 were:

  • Mackerel (£182 million)
  • Langoustine (also known as Nephrops, £116 million)
  • Brown crab (£74 million)
  • Scallops (£ 59 million)
  • Monkfish (£54 million)

The majority of landings were made in the UK, with Peterhead, Lerwick and Fraserburgh being the main UK landing ports by weight. Landings abroad took place mainly in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland.

How many people are employed in the UK fishing fleet?

In 2019 there were 8,012 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs on board UK fishing vessels. This figure is based on MMO employment data and data on hours worked by crew reported to Seafish by UK fishing vessel owners.

Scotland employed the most people on fishing vessels (3,829 FTEs) followed by England (3,230 FTEs), Northern Ireland (705 FTEs) and Wales (140 FTEs).

Fleet Survey

Every year we collect and analyse data on earnings and costs of the UK fishing fleet via our annual survey of the UK Fishing Fleet. The data we collect, combined with official statistics on fleet numbers, landings and employment collected by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), provides industry and government with detailed insights on the economic performance of the sector.

Further information is available at the link below.

Quay Issues magazine

Quay Issues explores the challenges facing the fishing industry and showcases the creative and innovative ways that the UK fleet are finding to make the industry more sustainable, efficient and safe and to overcome business challenges. Read the latest issue here. To request a printed copy email