Value of Campbeltown fish landings down

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The value of fish landings at Campbeltown dropped by a massive 35 per cent in 2020, much more than the national average which also fell.

The value of Campbeltown landings fell to £9.1 million, while the tonnage dropped by 28 per cent to 3.3 million.

Across Scotland, the value of last year’s landings was down 27 per cent and the tonnage was down four per cent; the Campbeltown value was 2.3 per cent of the Scottish total and 1.1 per cent of the tonnage.

The figures were revealed in Marine Scotland’s recently published Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2020 which gives detailed data on the landings of fish in every port in the country, separated into species, tonnage and value.

In 2020, Scottish vessels landed 399,000 tonnes of sea fish and shellfish with a gross value of £488 million.

Compared to 2019, there was a decrease of 21 per cent in the real value of landings and a two per cent increase in the tonnage landed.

The annual report states: ‘The 21 per cent decrease in the real terms value of landings by Scottish vessels to £488 million, between 2019 and 2020, was driven by a decrease in the value of shellfish and demersal species.

‘The real terms value of shellfish landings decreased by 42 per cent and demersal landings decreased by 26 per cent compared to 2019, whereas pelagic landings increased by six per cent.

‘The two per cent increase in tonnage landed by Scottish vessels is attributed to an increase in landings of pelagic fish.

‘Shellfish landings fell 23 per cent by tonnage and demersal landings fell 10 per cent. Pelagic landings increased by 13 per cent.’

The report also states that the lockdowns and restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted many fishing vessels’ ability to land and sell fish during these months.

Similar, but smaller decreases in value can be seen during the months October to December when further restrictions and a second lockdown were introduced.

‘The lockdowns and restrictions are obviously the main reasons for the falls at Campbeltown,’ said Inverness-based economist Tony Mackay.

‘The local port has very few pelagic fish landings – mackerel and herring – so that explains most of the differences with the Scottish totals last year.’

In terms of tonnage, shellfish accounted for 99.8 per cent of the Campbeltown total, with tiny quantities of demersal – white fish – and pelagic fish.

The biggest landings were of nephrops at 57 per cent of the total, while edible crabs accounted for 15 per cent and scallops for another 15 per cent.

In terms of value, shellfish accounted for 97.5 per cent of the total and white fish 2.5 per cent.

The most valuable species landed were nephrops at 61 per cent of the total, while scallops were 11 per cent and edible crabs were nine per cent.

The Marine Scotland report shows that there were 146 registered fishing vessels at Campbeltown at December 31 2020, which was seven per cent of the Scottish total of 2,088.

There were 289 registered fishers, who were six per cent of the national total.

‘Those percentages are much higher than those for the weight and value of landings, so the catch per Campbeltown fisher was much lower than the national average,’ added Mr Mackay. ‘However, many local fishers are only part-time.

‘2020 was obviously a very disappointing year for the local fishing industry because of the Covid lockdowns and restrictions.’