Industry body Seafish has launched its latest annual study into the economic health of the UK’s fishing fleet – and it wants boat owners and skippers at ports around Scotland to get involved.
Researchers are visiting fishing communities around the coast to collect data on fishing and vessel costs in order to build an up-to-date picture of the catch sector’s economic performance.
The results, to be published in 2017, are intended to help industry and policymakers better understand the social consequences of changes in fisheries management measures and the wider economy.
Seafish said its latest survey came at an “especially crucial time” in the wake of the historic Brexit vote and the first year of the landing obligation, or discard ban for some key species.
Steve Lawrence, the group’s economics project manager, added: “Thanks to the participation of several hundred vessel owners, the economics team at Seafish has been able to accurately represent the economic performance of the UK fishing fleet for a number of years.
“Only with the continued support of the Scottish fishing industry can we keep up this hugely valuable exercise, producing outputs that allow us to better understand the industry as a whole and to inform key decision-makers.
“We would, therefore, encourage skippers and boat owners from across Scotland to speak to our researchers and complete the survey so that we can present the most accurate picture possible.”
Researchers have already visited north and north-east ports including Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Inverness, Mallaig and Ullapool Next week, they will be in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
Their work is supported by national and local fishing federations and associations throughout the UK.
As well as the UK fleet report to be published next year, Seafish will highlight stories and features gathered by its researchers in its annual Quay Issues magazine later this year.
Last year’s survey findings can be found on the Seafish website.
Vessel owners taking part in the studies are entitled to a free financial benchmark report, allowing comparisons with the average performance of similar boats.