Our fishermen are proud of their heritage and family-owned vessels are the mainstay of the Scottish fleet, which is almost wholly dependent on their home waters to secure a living. It is not uncommon for three generations of a family to have fishing in their blood. Fishermen by nature are proud and independent, and because they are so closely linked to the sea, there is no-one who understands or cherishes the marine environment more.
Fishing is incredibly important to Scotland. The total value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 was £464 million, seven per cent lower than in 2011. This decrease in total landed value is the result of reductions in the overall value of all species types. There was little change in the volume of fish landed between 2011 and 2012. The tonnage of pelagic fish landed increased by four per cent, whilst shellfish landings decreased by five per cent. The tonnage of demersal species landed was similar to 2011.
Despite the reduction in the total value of mackerel from 2011, it is still the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet, contributing 28 per cent to the total value of all stocks. Langoustines remains the most valuable shellfish and second most valuable stock, contributing 18 per cent to the total. Haddock is the most valuable demersal fish to the Scottish fleet.
In 2012, the number of active fishing vessels based in Scotland was 2,044. This represents a decrease of 51 vessels (two per cent) from the previous year, to the lowest number of the decade. There were 599 over 10m vessels in the Scottish fleet. This is a reduction of 26 vessels from 2011, of which 14 were demersal vessels and 12 were shellfish vessels. During 2012, the number of under 10m vessels fell to 1,445. This is a decrease of 25 vessels from 2011, the majority of which (22) were creelers.
At the end of 2012, the number of fishermen employed on Scottish fishing vessels had decreased five per cent from 2011, driven by a reduction in the regularly employed category. Of the 4,747 fishermen employed; 3,752 were regularly employed whilst 941 were employed irregularly and 54 were crofters.