The value of fish landed in Shetland increased to a new record of over £90 million during 2011, according to figures released by the the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway.
This increase in value, recorded by the college’s department of marine science and technology, follows the general upward trend seen over the last decade.
Since 2000 the value of fish landed in the isles has more than quadrupled.
The figures come from a new report by the fisheries policy section , which summarises the results of detailed analyses of landings data supplied by Marine Scotland.
Pelagic fish – herring and especially mackerel – accounted for about 78 per cent of the fish weight landed in Shetland in 2011 and 68 per cent of value. Whitefish accounted for 19 per cent of weight and 27 per cent of value. Shellfish, although accounting for only two per cent weight, had the highest economic unit value and represented three per cent of total value.
In a national context, in 2011 just under one quarter of all fish landed in Scotland and 15 per cent of all the fish landed in the UK was in Shetland. More fish was landed in Shetland ports than in any other port in the UK, except Peterhead.
Finfish landings in Shetland was higher than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. Shetland fishing vessels accounted for one fifth of all fish landed by Scottish fishing vessels, and more than one tenth of all landings by UK vessels.
Report author Ian Napier said the figures demonstrated once again the substantial contribution that fishing continues to make to Shetland’s economy.
Dr Napier said: “Behind these figures are many local jobs – more than 400 people are directly employed in fish catching in Shetland and hundreds more in related sectors such as processing, transport and engineering.
“They also show the important role that Shetland’s fishing industry, and the waters around Shetland, play in both a Scottish and UK context.”