Call for fishing fleet to shed light on state of the industry

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 12 Jul 2018

Vessel owners and skippers around the UK are being asked to participate in UK-wide research aiming to paint a clear picture of the performance of the fishing fleet.

Researchers from Seafish, the public body that supports the £10 billion UK seafood industry, will be travelling the length and breadth of the UK’s coastline gathering data on the financial and operational performance of the industry.

With a changing political environment, increasing weather variability and a public focus on sustainable and responsibly sourced seafood, researchers will canvas fishermen on how they see the industry, its future and the challenges they face.

There’s hope the 2018 Fleet Survey will reveal more positive news for the fishing industry after a strong performance in 2017 which saw total fishing income for UK vessels rising by £38 million. This was mainly driven by higher prices for many shellfish species.

Despite a rise in income, many fishermen highlighted the availability of fish, access to quota, fuel price, weather and other issues as potential threats to their businesses and their financial performance.

Read more: Icelandic Brexit boost as seafood relations look set to deepen with the Humber

The findings from the Fleet Survey, to be published in 2019, have the potential to influence policy and give an accurate insight into the health of the fishing industry. With the UK set to exit the EU next year, it is crucial skippers and vessel owners have their say on the state of the industry.

Steve Lawrence, Economics Project Manager at Seafish, said: “It’s vital we paint an accurate picture of the economic performance of the fishing industry and find out the biggest achievements and challenges fishers have met over the past year. This insight means we can keep all those involved in the sector fully informed on the health of the fleet.  The report is also made available to policy makers and it is a good opportunity for fishermen to voice their opinion on the big issues affecting them.”

“We had a great response to last year’s survey, with over 400 skippers and vessel owners taking part. We hope to increase the number of people we speak to this year so that the insight we gather is as accurate as possible.

“We appreciate the continued support of the fishing industry across the UK and encourage all skippers and vessel owners to speak to our researchers. If we don’t hear from you then we aren’t able to promote your achievements and concerns to decision makers.”

Read more: One in five fish processing workers could be hit by hard Brexit - Seafish

All vessel owners can benefit directly from participation by requesting a free financial performance benchmark report which allows comparisons with the average performance of other similar vessels.

The survey is supported by the national federations and local associations around the UK. All information provided is treated as confidential and no individual vessel figures will be revealed in any report.

As well as the UK fleet report to be published next year, Seafish will publish its annual Quay Issues magazine later this year which includes stories and features gathered by the researchers as part of the survey.

Anybody interested in taking part in the survey should contact Steve Lawrence at Seafish on 0131 524 8663 or email To view the results of last year’s report, visit the Seafish website.

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