UK Fishing Fleet Survey

Every year we talk to fishing vessel owners around the UK to capture economic and employment data. We also ask about the issues affecting business.

The 2021 fleet survey began on Monday 5 July and will continue throughout the summer and early autumn.

What is the Fleet Survey?

The fleet survey is the major piece of research into the health of the UK's fishing sector. It looks at the economic performance of the fleet itself and at the demographics of the people who work in fishing businesses. This allows us to better understand the social impact the industry has on coastal communities. The results of the survey help both industry and policy makers to understand the challenges and opportunities the fleet faces, as well as the impact of fisheries management measures. 

Creating an accurate picture depends on the support and participation from skippers and vessel owners. 

What happens during the survey?

Our researchers Carlos, Oscar and Joe visit ports and harbours across the UK to speak with vessel owners and skippers. They will follow local guidance and health and safety protocols as they travel and meet with fishermen.

The survey will ask a series of questions about the financial and operational performance of the fishing vessel and questions about the demographics of the crew. It's an opportunity to share how fishing businesses have faired in the last 12 months through challenges and changes such as the pandemic and Brexit.

All information provided is treated in the strictest confidence. No figures relating to any individual or specific vessel are revealed in the fleet report or any other outputs.

How can I take part?

Vessel owners interested in participating should email with their:

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

Our researchers will arrange to meet in port or to have a telephone or video call if that is more suitable.

Benchmarking reports for vessel owners

Owners who take part can request a free financial performance benchmark report. The report 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. 

If you requested a benchmark report after taking part in last year’s survey then you should receive it in the next few weeks. 

Industry support

Various industry figures from across the country have called on vessel owners to take part in the survey. 

Watch Mike Park from the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA), Jerry Percy from the New Under Ten Fishermen's Association (NUTFA) and Harry Wick from the Northern Ireland Fish Producers' Organisation (NIFPO) below.

Our researchers

Our fleet researchers are Oscar Wilkie, Joe Cooper and Juan Carlos Paredes Esclapez. It's their third year working on the survey.

Photo of the fleet survey researchers at a port
Fleet survey researchers Carlos, Oscar and Joe pictured in Peterhead port during the 2019 fleet survey