Fishing survey seeks input from skippers

FISHING BOAT PICTURE IAIN FERGUSON, THE WRITE IMAGE

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The Seafish organisation is calling for vessel owners and skippers in Lochaber, Argyll and the Isles to participate in its 12th annual economic survey of the UK fishing fleet.

This year’s survey will travel the length and breadth of the UK. Researchers will be in ports from Mallaig to Oban from August to 14 to 18.

Researchers are looking to gather data on fishing and vessel costs in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the financial and operational performance of the fishing industry.

The 2017 survey hopes to uncover a similar success story to last year, which saw the UK fishing sector experience its best economic performance since 2008.

The most recent results published found that the total UK fleet income increased by 19 per cent, while the operating profits increased year-on-year by an estimated 22 per cent.

The researchers will also canvass fishermen’s views on a range of current and future industry issues.

Despite last year being positive for the sector, a number of skippers and vessel owners expressed concerns about the future. Uncertainty in regulation and political developments, issues around quota availability and affordability and market prices made the list.

With the UK set to exit the EU in 2019, the survey will capture the mood on the ground and provide an insight in to the expectations and concerns of the fishing industry.

Steve Lawrence, economics project manager at Seafish, said: ‘Our annual survey provides us with a detailed picture of the UK fishing fleet’s economic performance. The insight it provides means we can keep all those involved in the sector fully informed on the health of the fleet.

‘The report is also made available to policy-makers and it is a good opportunity for fishermen to voice their opinion on the big issues affecting them.

‘We had a great response to last year’s survey, with more than 700 skippers and vessel owners taking part. We hope to increase the number of people we speak to this year so that the insight we gather is as accurate as possible.

‘We appreciate the continued support of the fishing industry in Lochaber, Argyll and Isles and encourage all skippers and vessel owners in the area to speak to our researchers.’

Vessel owners can benefit directly from participation by requesting a free financial performance benchmark report which allows comparisons with the average performance of other similar vessels.

Anybody interested in taking part in the survey should contact Steve Lawrence at Seafish on 0131 524 8663 or email steven.lawrence@seafish.co.uk.