Value of fish landings soars at Fraserburgh

The value of fish landings at Fraserburgh increased by a massive +20.0% to £29.8 million last year, but the tonnage fell by -1.7% to 14,114.

Fraserburgh is the fourth biggest port in Scotland
Fraserburgh is the fourth biggest port in Scotland
Fraserburgh is the fourth biggest port in Scotland

In Scotland as a whole the value of landings in 2020 was up +8.4% but the tonnage down -1.5%.

Fraserburgh therefore did much better than the national average by value but a little worse by


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The value was 6.7% of the Scottish total and the tonnage 5.0%.

Fraserburgh is the fourth biggest fishing port in Scotland, after Peterhead, Shetland and Scrabster.

In terms of the 2021 value changes Fraserburgh ranked 11th of the 18. The tonnage ranking was 12th .

The value of shellfish landings was just over £20 million, which was 67% of the total and up +44% on

2020. The white fish/demersal value was £8.4 million (28% of the total but down -18%) and the pelagic value £1.4 million (5% of the total and up +93%). The most valuable species landed were

nephrops (51% of the total), monkfish (13%) and scallops (7%).

The Marine Scotland statistics show that Fraserburgh landings peaked at £48.2 million in 2018. There

was then a massive -46% fall in 2020. The 2021 total is still only 62% of the 2018 peak.

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The statistics also show a huge decline in the value and weight of mackerel (pelagic) landings. They

peaked at £8.9 million in 2017 but fell to just £382,000 in 2020. The 2021 mackerel total of £1.4 million was still only 16% of the 2017 peak.

In terms of tonnage, the shellfish total was 7,615 tonnes (54% of the 2021 total and +33% higher);

demersal/white fish 5,114 tonnes (36% and down -33%); and pelagic 1,386 (10% and up +45%). The

biggest landings by weight were of nephrops (40% of the total).

The report shows that there were 224 registered fishing vessels at Fraserburgh at December 31, 2021, which was 11% of the Scottish total of 2082 and the second highest number after Shetland (247). Peterhead had only 95 registered vessels.

There were 791 registered fishers, who were 19% of the national total. That was by far the highest

number in the country and more than double the 370 in Peterhead. The obvious conclusion is that locally registered vessels are landing many of their catches elsewhere, notably in Peterhead.

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2021 was obviously a better year for the Fraserburgh fishing industry but the value of landings was

still only 62% of the 2018 peak.

The Summary of the Marine Scotland report states: “There are signs that some parts of the fishing industry are recovering from the impacts of Covid-19, however there hasn’t been a return to pre-pandemic levels.

Scottish vessels accounted for 90% of the value of total landings in 2021, vessels from elsewhere in

the UK (RUK) 7% and foreign vessels 3%. The foreign vessels’ share fell from 7% in 2020. Scottish

vessels also accounted for 90% of the tonnage landed in 2021, RUK 6% and foreign 4%. Scotland accounted for 62% of the total value of fish landings in the UK in 2021 and 68% of the tonnage.