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Scottish Fisheries Statistics, 2004


2. Overview of Catches and Landings

2.1 Total landings into Scotland

The quantity and value of all landings into each Scottish Fishery Office district are shown in Figures 1 and 2, respectively.

In 2004, the total quantity landed into Scottish ports by vessels of all nationalities was 412 thousand tonnes, 9 per cent higher than in 2003 and 15 per cent higher than in 2000 ( Table 17). There has however, been a substantial switch in the contribution of the demersal and pelagic sectors since 2000, with demersal species declining from 51 per cent to 31 per cent of landed volume, while pelagic species have increased from 35 per cent to 56 per cent (calculated from Table 17). This switch has been associated with quota reductions for all of the most important demersal stocks since 2000 ( Table 15), with the combined quota for key demersal stocks 1 having fallen by one third over this period, while that for key pelagic stocks has remained relatively constant (Table II).

Table II: Combined UK quota ('000 tonnes) for key demersal and pelagic stocks 2 1999-2004
(based on Table 15)

Quota ('000 tonnes)






Change 2000 - 2004

Combined key demersal stocks






-69 (-33%)

Combined key pelagic stocks






-8 (-3%)

2.2 Landings by UK vessels into Scotland by area and district

In 2004, UK vessels landed 337 thousand tonnes of all species, at a value of £259 million, into Scottish ports. These landings represent an increase of 10 per cent in quantity and 12 per cent in value from 2003 (Table 17).

Pelagic landings formed just over half of the total quantity landed although the relatively low prices achieved by pelagic species resulted in the sector contributing only a quarter of the total value landed (Chart I). Conversely, demersal species which fetch higher prices, made up 28 per cent of total quantity landed but formed 37 per cent of total value landed. High value shellfish landings formed only 16 per cent of the total by quantity but 38 per cent by value.

Chart I: Landings by UK vessels into Scotland, 2004

Chart I: Landings by UK vessels into Scotland, 2004

Regional breakdown

Eastern Area: Eyemouth, Pittenweem, Aberdeen, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Buckie
(comparisons calculated from table 21)

  • In 2004, landings by UK vessels increased at four of the six eastern districts, by between 26 per cent (Peterhead) and 56 per cent (Aberdeen), while the value of landings at these districts increased between 2 per cent (Buckie) and 44 per cent (Pittenweem). These increases were mainly due to more shellfish being landed at all districts.
  • Only Fraserburgh and Buckie experienced small decreases in total amount landed in 2004 due to reduced pelagic and demersal landings, respectively.

Northern Area : Wick, Orkney, Shetland, Stornoway, Kinlochbervie, Lochinver

  • Notable changes among the northern districts were an 18 per cent increase in the volume of demersal landings into Shetland and a 44 per cent rise in shellfish landed into Orkney.
  • The total quantity landed at the other northern districts however, dropped by between 3 per cent (Wick) and 14 per cent (Kinlochbervie) largely as a result of a reduced demersal landings.

Western Area: Ullapool, Mallaig, Portree, Oban, Campbeltown, Ayr

  • Campbeltown was the only western district to show a slight increase in the quantity and value of landings in 2004 (up by 17 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively), entirely due to a 27 per cent increase in shellfish.
  • The total quantities landed at the other five western districts fell by 10 per cent (Oban) to 38 per cent (Ayr), while the total value of landings fell by 5 per cent (Mallaig and Oban) to 16 per cent (Ayr). The decline of the demersal sector was the main reason behind these reductions except at Mallaig which experienced an 43 per cent drop in pelagic landings, and at Ayr where a 41 per cent fall in shellfish landings was the biggest change.

2.3 Landings by foreign vessels into Scotland

Foreign vessels landed 75 thousand tonnes worth £54 million into Scottish ports in 2004, both figures slightly up the 2003 level. The proportion of total landings (volume) into Scotland to come from foreign vessels, decreased slightly from 19 to 18 per cent in 2004 but has been relatively stable at 15 to 19 percent since 2000 ( Table 17).

The species types landed by foreign vessels also remained similar to recent years, with pelagic forming just over half of the 2004 total by volume but only 17% by value (Chart II), due to a preponderance of low value Blue Whiting ( Table 24). Most of the remainder comprised demersal species, with negligible landings of shellfish (326 tonnes in 2004).

Chart II: Foreign landings into Scotland by species type, 2004

Chart II: Foreign landings into Scotland by species type, 2004

2.4 Landings by Scottish based vessels

Scottish based vessels made just under 71 thousand voyages in 2004, a broadly similar number to 2003 (Table 18). These voyages were however, more productive in 2004: the total quantity landed increased by 9 per cent to 427 thousand tonnes while the total value of these landings went up by by 7 per cent to £300 million. The species composition of these landings was broadly similar to that of UK vessels landing into Scotland (Chart I), although pelagic species formed a slightly greater proportion of the Scottish vessel total (Chart III), due primarily to 79 thousand pelagic tonnes abroad (Table 17). Despite having declined sharply in total value since 1998, the demersal sector remained the most valuable to the Scottish based fleet in 2004, forming 37 per cent of the total £300 million landed (Chart III). Shellfish formed the next most valuable segment of the catch at 35 per cent while, despite the high volume, pelagic landings formed only 28 per cent of the total value.

Chart III: Total landings by Scottish based vessels by species type, 2004

Chart III: Total landings by Scottish based vessels by species type, 2004

Looking at the longer term trends, total landings by Scottish vessels have fallen by 94 thousand tonnes or 18 per cent since 2000 (calculated from Table 17) affecting the demersal sector most (down by 65 thousand tonnes or 39 percent). Pelagic landings by Scottish based vessels into UK ports have increased since 2000 by 78 thousand tonnes to 192 thousand tonnes, but this has been insufficient to offset a fall of 110 thousand (pelagic) tonnes landed abroad, resulting in an overall reduction of 32 thousand tonnes, or 11 per cent. Annual quantities of shellfish landed have remained relatively stable over this period.

The proportion of the annual catch of the Scottish based fleet landed into Scotland increased slightly between 2003 and 2004, from 79 to 82 per cent in value terms (calculated from tables 17 and 18).

2.5 Uptake of UK quota

2.5.1 Demersal stocks

Quota uptake reached 90 per cent or more for seven of the ten most valuable demersal stocks ( NS Cod, NS Whiting, NS Plaice, NS Norway Lobster, NS Monkfish, WS Cod and WS Norway Lobster; Chart IV, Table 15). Uptake of most of these key quota stocks in 2004 was broadly similar to that in 2003, with some notable exceptions:

  • landings of NS Haddock were higher than in 2003 level, but with an increase in quota of almost 50 percent in 2004, the proportion of quota that this represented fell from 99 to 82 per cent
  • uptake of WS Haddock fell from 99 to 65 per cent , despite a reduced quota in 2004
  • uptake of NS Plaice increased (from 76 to 102 percent), largely a consequence of reduced quota.
  • a further reduction in the uptake of North Sea Saithe, to only 44 percent in 2004. This trend might reflect the economics of fishing for this species, which fetches poor prices at market and is caught mainly in more northerly grounds where fishing is more expensive in terms of fuel and time spent at sea.

Chart IV: Quota uptake of main North Sea ( NS) and West of Scotland ( WS) demersal stocks by UK vessels in 2003 and 2004

Chart IV: Quota uptake of main North Sea (NS) and West of Scotland (WS) demersal stocks by UK vessels in 2003 and 2004

2.5.2 Pelagic stocks

Quota uptake for the four most important pelagic stocks continued to be high in 2004, approaching 100 per cent for North Sea Herring, West of Scotland Herring and West of Scotland Mackerel and exceeding 90 percent for West of Scotland Horse Mackerel (Chart V). Quota and landings in each case were broadly similar to 2003 levels.

Chart V: Quota uptake of main North Sea ( NS) and West of Scotland ( WS) pelagic stocks by UK vessels in 2003 and 2004

Chart V: Quota uptake of main North Sea (NS) and West of Scotland (WS) pelagic stocks by UK vessels in 2003 and 2004

1 Key demersal stocks are considered to be North Sea & West of Scotland stocks of Cod, Haddock, Monkfish, Whiting, Saithe, Plaice and Norway Lobster.
2 Key pelagic stocks are considered to be North Sea & West of Scotland stocks of Mackerel, Herring and Horse Mackerel.