Fishermen net benefits of being out of CFP as new figures show Scots vessels account for 96% of all landings

Tim Eagle MSP pictured at Buckie Shipyard

FISHERMEN are continuing to net the benefits of being out of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) after new figures show Scots vessels accounted for 96% of all landings into Scotland last year.

The statistics for 2023, published by the Scottish Government for the first time, show vessels based in Scotland accounted for 43,717 landings across the year.

For the first half of the year, they recorded 22,616 landings while vessels from England totalled 485 (2%). Vessels from Spain accounted for 129 (1%), France 124 (1%), Northern Ireland 101, Isle of Man 98, Wales 11, Norway 10 and Denmark 3.

From July to the end of the year, Scottish-based vessels recorded 21,101 landings into the country (96%). Vessels from England totalled an additional 508 (2%), Isle of Man 189 (1%), France 106 and Northern Ireland 99.

The figures come after Peterhead Port set a new record for annual fish landings, with £226 million-worth of catches traded across the quaysides this year.

At Lochinver in Sutherland, the Highlands, the number of tonnes of fish landed in 2022 was up by around 29% to 11,141 while the total value of the catch saw a massive 63.1% rise to £19.8 million.

In December, it was announced that the UK fishing industry would have access to 420,000 tonnes of fishing opportunities worth up to £700 million after agreements were reached with the EU and Norway.

This brings the total fishing opportunities secured for the UK fleet in 2024 in the main negotiating forums to 750,000 tonnes – 80,000 tonnes more than in 2023 – worth up to £970 million based on historic landing prices. 

Fishermen will also benefit from continued access to Norwegian North Sea waters to fish for stocks such as cod, haddock and hake following the conclusion of annual fisheries negotiations with Norway.

Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Tim Eagle said: “These figures reflect that our fishing industry is taking full advantage of being out of the detrimental Common Fisheries Policy which deeply damaged our fishermen and coastal communities for decades.

“As the statistics show, leaving the EU has meant our fleets have been able to seize post Brexit freedoms by negotiating deals as an independent coastal state which are in the best interests of the North East fishing industry.

“Scottish Government negotiators have a far stronger voice at the table than they ever did before compared with when we were just one of 28 EU member states.

“Yet despite this, the SNP are hell-bent on aligning our fishermen once again with European Union rules, rather than helping to deliver the benefits available to them now.

“It’s vital we continue to focus on supporting Scotland’s fishermen and these figures send a positive message that the future is bright for the industry.”

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