2018 fleet statistics: Are we still singing when we're fishing?
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 2 Apr 2019
The UK’s fishing fleet enjoyed a modest increase in revenues in 2018, with a five per cent dip in volumes mitigated by an equal price increase.
Seafish, the public body that supports the £10 billion UK seafood industry, has provided its latest economic performance estimates, and based on preliminary landings data it underlines a solid year, despite the challenge of increasing fuel costs.
While there are differences within segments, collectively revenues hit £978 million in 2018 from £975 million, with 690,000 tonnes landed, down on 2017’s 720,000
At £1,422, the average price per tonne landed is – in nominal terms – at its highest average price in the last decade.
Fuel cost was a major factor in the 2018 figures with average annual fuel price 20 per cent higher than 2017 and reaching more than 50p per litre for the first time since 2014. Fuel costs as a proportion of total income rose from 11 per cent in 2017 to 13 per cent.
Total fleet operating profit fell slightly on 2017, decreasing 4 per cent from £280 million to £268 million, but operating profit as a percentage of total income was largely static across the two years – 26 per cent in 2018 compared to 27 per cent.
The Hull-registered Kirkella.
The number of active fishing vessels in the UK fleet decreased from 4,709 in 2017 to 4,512 in 2018, with around 1,600 of these ‘low activity vessels’ with fishing income of less than £10,000.
It comes as it is understood boat-building is enjoying a resurgence, as ‘taking back control’ of UK territorial waters is eyed up as a potential Brexit prize.
Commenting on the results Steve Lawrence, economics project manager at Seafish said: “While the increase in the price of fuel has been substantial it has been mitigated to some extent by the increase in average price per tonne landed, meaning the UK fleet saw a slight increase in fishing revenues in 2018.
“In spite of the challenges and the undoubted uncertainties on the horizon it does appear that the catching sector is largely continuing with business as usual.”
As reported, one of the strongest resurgences seen in recent Humber history is that of factory trawler Kirkella, now landing in King George Dock, Hull, every four to six weeks.
The full Seafish fleet economic performance dataset for 2008-2018 giving more detail on the overall picture and on different segments of the fleet can be accessed here: Seafish fleet economic performance dataset
The data will be updated in October.