Seafish has published its 2019 fleet data report Photo: SeafishSeafish has published its 2019 fleet data report Photo: Seafish

The UK’s fishing fleet has seen a notable decrease in the weight of landings in 2019 according to figures published by Seafish.

The Fleet Economic Performance data is based on preliminary landings data and the results of Seafish’s 2019 fleet survey. Revenues show a drop from £1,025 million in 2018 to £980 million in 2019 with the weight of landings 12% lower.

Arina Motova, chief economist at Seafish, said that last year’s figures were ‘the calm before the storm’. “This data from 2019 shows how the UK’s fishing fleet was positioned just before having to deal with a major shock to the system,” she said.

Covid-19 and Brexit

“The consequences of the global pandemic will continue to be felt throughout the seafood supply chain. Fishing businesses will continue to face them as they navigate through the challenges and opportunities ahead as the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy and develops a new trading relationship with the EU,” she added.

Half of this decrease is associated with the reduction of mackerel fishing opportunities with the rest driven by lower herring and blue whiting landings. The average price per tonne landed increased to £1,582 (8% higher than in 2018) and total operating profit was largely unchanged (down 1% at £240 million).

Seafish will begin the 2020 survey later this month. As well as the usual questions on economic performance, vessel owners will be asked about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and whether government support has been of help to their business.

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