In 2012, there were 6,406 registered fishing vessels, a reduction of 15% since 2002. Of these vessels, around 4,600 were active during 2012 and of those, around 1,800 had annual value of fish landings below £10,000. The list of registered vessels in 2012 comprised 5,032 under 10m vessels and 1,374 over 10m vessels.
All UK fishermen have to operate under strict management regimes. Many of the stocks around the country’s coastline are currently very healthy; for example, stocks of herring and shellfish such as langoustine. However, many of the most abundant species are exported and there is scope to increase UK consumption of them.
In recent years, new alliances have been built between government, fishermen, statutory bodies, conservationists and scientists to work towards a sustainable future for the seas around the UK. As these new partnerships develop there is scope for buyers to change their specifications, building in commitments to better conservation practices by fishermen. The Head of Environmental Responsibility at Seafish is helping the seafood industry build on this.