Seafood processing data and insight
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The seafood processing sector is an important part of the seafood value chain. According to the European Commission 2020 Factsheet, the UK seafood processing sector is estimated to be one of the largest in Europe in terms of employment and turnover.
The seafood processing sector in the UK has contracted since 2012 but it is still an important sector. Although the number of sites has reduced, much of that is due to company takeovers and consolidation.
In 2022 there were 359 majority seafood processing sites across the UK. Some of these sites belong to multi-site companies.
There were 18,000 full time equivalent jobs in the industry.
The Humber and Cornwall regions in England and Scotland (particularly the Grampian region) are the main seafood processing hubs in the UK. These regions have the most processing sites and support the most jobs in the sector.
The latest financial data we have for the industry is from 2020. Total income was £4.4 billion with a £1 billion operating profit. We will update this information in 2023 with 2021 economic performance data.
The UK processes most seafood types and mixed species factories are the most common. Processors use fish caught and landed in UK waters and fish imported from the rest of the world.
Shellfish processing takes place all around the UK. Most of the factories are small (under 25 employees).
Almost all salmon and pelagic (mackerel, herring) processing takes place in Scotland.
Primary processing is the process of cutting, filleting, de-boning, peeling, washing, packing, heading and/or gutting. There were 67 sites specialising in primary processing and around 70% of those sites have less than 10 employees.
Secondary processing is the process of freezing, smoking, canning, brining, breading or making ready meals. There were 44 sites specialising in secondary processing. Six of these sites account for 82% of the FTE jobs at secondary processing sites.
Seafood Processing Enquiry Tool
All our seafood processing sector data from 2012-2022 is available on our interactive Seafood Processing Enquiry Tool on Tableau. You can access this online tool from the link below:
Seafood processing industry performance data reports
We've prepared a short report to inform the UK Government about energy use and cost pressures within the UK seafood processing sector. Download the report by following the link below.
Our most recent reports from our annual industry census. Our 2021 report was focused on the impact of Brexit and the pandemic.
Read about the latest UK seafood processing industry performance data as well as time series data back to 2012 by following the link below.
Seafood Processing methodology report
This methodology report presents the data collection and estimation procedure methodologies used by us to report on the size, structure and economic performance of the UK seafood processing industry.
We collect information from UK seafood processing businesses each year to ensure that the scale and performance of the sector are accurately measured.
Our processing survey helps us to put together an accurate picture of the seafood processing sector in the UK. The results are shared with government and industry to support business and policy decisions.
You can find out more about our annual survey of the seafood processing sector from the link below:
If you’d like further information on any of our processing industry data, please contact our Economics team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.