Commenting on the provisional statistics published today (14 May) by Scotland’s Chief Statistician that the overall quayside value of sea fish and shellfish landed by Scottish vessels in 2014 increased by 19 per cent and the volume by 31 per cent, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said:
“Whilst we welcome the fact that the overall volume and value of Scottish seafood landings have risen, most of this can be attributed to mackerel because the very healthy state of the stock led to an increase in quota last year. Indeed, it is good news that the hard work of our processing sector has managed to find markets for this fish despite the impact of the Russian import ban.
“Whitefish landings are down, although this was compensated by a higher value due to market demand. Scottish langoustine had an encouraging year with shellfish prices and volume being largely maintained.
“However, of particular significance is the fact that the quota allocation for whitefish was almost fully taken up in 2014. This means that when the landing obligation, or discard ban as it is known, starts to be phased-in from 1 January 2016, as things stand there is currently very little room for manoeuvre for the fleet.
“These landing figures therefore underline that if the discard ban is to work and not impact upon the viability of the fishing fleet, then there is the real need for there to be sensible compensatory quota increases to account for the fact that all fish caught will have to be landed