Value of seafood rises despite fall in quantity caught
September 03 2012 Lewis Smith
The value of seafood landed by the UK fishing fleet has increased by 15 per cent in a year despite a fall in the quantity caught.
Landings of fish and shellfish were worth £828 million in 2011 compared to £720 million in the previous year, according to figures released by the Marine Management Organisation.
By contrast the quantity landed by the fleet, either in home ports or abroad, fell more than one per cent from just over 608,000 tonnes in 2010 to just under 600,000 tonnes last year.
The rise in the value of fish was attributed by the MMO primarily to an increase in the price of pelagic fish of more than 40 per cent, with 282,000 tonnes being landed. Mackerel and herring accounted for 86 per cent of the weight of pelagic fish landed and 94 per cent of the value. Between them they also accounted for 41 per cent of all landings by the UK fleet.
In 2011 landings of mackerel by the UK fleet rose in value by 48 per cent to £205 million and the average price rose from £0.86 per kg in 2010 to £1.13 per kg – making it the most expensive pelagic fish on the market. In total, 182,000 tonnes were landed. Herring landings fell 8 per cent to 62,000 tonnes but the average price rose from £0.33 a kg in 2010 to £0.48 per kg.
More recently, however, the international row over quota rights between Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and the European Union, has meant the Marine Conservation Society has ceased recommending mackerel as a fish to eat while Marine Stewardship Council certification of sustainability has been withdrawn from seven fisheries.
Landings of demersal fish fell 5 per cent to 160,000 tonnes while the value increased 5 per cent to £288 million. Haddock with 30,000 tonnes, cod with 23,000 and plaice with 17,000 tonnes were among the largest catches while in value monk and angler fish were worth £51 million, cod £46 million, haddock £37 million and plaice £22.4 million.
Shellfish were the surprise package of the figures in the report UK Fishing Industry in 2011: Landings and for the first time they accounted for a greater quantity of the landings in the UK by the UK fleet. Demersal accounted for 27 per cent of the tonnage, pelagic 36 per cent wheras shellfish accounted for 37 per cent. Moreover, shellfish accounted for 45 per cent of the value landed in the UK by UK boats.
While almost half of pelagic fish caught by UK boats were landed abroad, 96 per cent of shellfish were landed in the UK. In total, 67 per cent of the UK fleet’s landings were made in home ports.
Landings of shellfish rose to 158,000 tonnes, up from 154,000 tonnes last year and 15 per cent higher than in 2009. The value rose to £291 million in 2011 from £267 million in 2010 and up 20 per cent from £242 million in 2009.
Nephrops were the most valuable shellfish haul at £113 million, followed by scallops at £64 million, crab at £40 million and lobsters at £33 million, all four of them rising in value on 2010.
Shellfish also formed the biggest proportion of landings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Only in Scotland did fish make the majority of the landings.
Scotland claimed the lion’s share of overall landings with 60 per cent of all landings – in weight and value - in the UK by the UK fleet. England had 28 per cent of the tonnage and 30 per cent of the value.
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