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Value of fish landings in Sutherland plummets as a result of lockdown


By Ali Morrison

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The value of fish landings in Sutherland took a dramatic tumble last year, according to a Marine Scotland report.

At Lochinver the value of landings fell by 32 per cent to £14.7 million and at Kinlochbervie by 31 per cent to £12.3 million.

Tonnage at the former port was down by 15 per cent to 19,751 and at the latter by 19 per cent.

The Scottish Fisheries Statistics 2020 report gives detailed figures on the landings of every port in the country with the numbers disaggregated by species, tonnage and value.

The report shows that there were 22 registered fishing vessels at both Kinlochbervie and Lochinver at December 31 – two per cent of the Scottish total of 2088. There were 197 fishers at Lochinver and 48 at Kinlochbervie, five per cent of the national total.
The report shows that there were 22 registered fishing vessels at both Kinlochbervie and Lochinver at December 31 – two per cent of the Scottish total of 2088. There were 197 fishers at Lochinver and 48 at Kinlochbervie, five per cent of the national total.

In Scotland as a whole the value of landings in 2020 was down by 27 per cent and the tonnage down by four per cent.

The Sutherland value fall was therefore similar with the national average but the tonnage fall was much worse. The Sutherland value represented 6.7 per cent of the Scottish total and the tonnage 6.1 per cent.

The report states: “The 21 per cent decrease in the real terms value of landings by Scottish vessels to £488 million, between 2019 and 2020, was driven by a decrease in the value of shellfish and demersal species.

“The real terms value of shellfish landings decreased by 42 per cent and demersal landings decreased by 26 per cent compared to 2019, whereas pelagic landings increased by six per cent.”

“The two per cent increase in tonnage landed by Scottish vessels is attributed to an increase in landings of pelagic fish. Shellfish landings fell 23 per cent by tonnage and demersal landings fell 10 per cent. Pelagic landings increased by 13 per cent.”

The report also states that the lockdowns and restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted many fishing vessels’ ability to land and sell fish during these months. Similar, but smaller decreases in value can be seen during the months October to December when further restrictions and a second lockdown were introduced.

Highland conomist Tony Mackay told the Northern Times: “The lockdowns and restrictions are obviously the main reasons for the falls at both Lochinver and Kinlochbervie.

“The local ports have very few pelagic fish landings (mackerel and herring), so that explains most of the differences with the Scottish totals last year."

In terms of tonnage, demersal (white fish) accounted for 99 per cent of the Lochinver total and shellfish one per cent. The biggest landings were of hake (22 per cent), blue ling (14), ling (13), monkfish (13) and saithe (11).

In terms of value, demersal fish accounted for 93 per cent of the total and shellfish per cent.

The most valuable landings were of hake (24) and monkfish (21).


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