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Commercial Fishing



Employment statistics for UK fishing fleet published. The ‘2018 Employment in the UK Fishing Fleet’ report has been published by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry. Presenting data on the nationality, gender, age, qualification, work pattern and ways of paying workers in the UK catching sector on board and onshore, the report highlights that:

  • 85% of jobs in a sample of 730 jobs were filled by UK workers.
  • Non-UK workers were found mainly on demersal trawlers over 18m and Nephrops trawlers registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland and mainly serve as deckhands, engineers and in other on board roles.
  • The vast majority of jobs in the sample (99%) were filled by men, with women working mostly in onshore roles, typically within family businesses.
  • The average age of workers in the sample was 42, with crew (average age of 38) generally younger than vessel owners (average age of 50.)
  • The highest level of qualification held by most crew was their Basic Safety Training, a minimum requirement for working on board.
  • Nearly three quarters of vessel owners had a higher professional qualification, such as a skipper certification.
  • The most common working pattern for on board workers was full time, all year round work. For on shore workers it was mainly part time, all year round work.
  • The majority of vessel owners and employees were paid a crew share (a share of the income from sales of fish after operating costs are deducted.)
  • EU workers were generally found to be paid via a fixed salary while non-EU workers tended to be employed via crewing agencies.

Commenting on the report Marta Moran Quintana, Economics Researcher, Seafish said:

“From small family businesses to large scale operations, this report helps us to better understand the people that power the UK fishing fleet.

“Providing a snapshot of employment in the fleet captured in the summer 2018, the results are perhaps not surprising but nevertheless they provide insight of the make-up of the catching sector.

“We hope they will be useful in assisting discussions and informing decisions on the employment situation and needs of the UK catching sector, particularly as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.”

Researchers interviewed nearly 300 skippers and vessel owners to establish employment data of over 700 jobs. The composition of the sample roughly reflects the composition of the fleet by home nation, vessel length and fishing technique. Seafish intends to collate and report on this data at regular intervals into the future.

The full report can be accessed at: http://www.seafish.org/media/publications/Seafish_2018_employment_in_fleet_FINAL.pdf

For more detailed data tables contact economics@seafish.co.uk