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This briefing paper examines trends in the UK sea fishing industry, including landings, employment, fleet size, trade, and comparisons with other EU countries.

UK vessels land around 400,000 tonnes of fish each year in the UK, and between 200,000 and 300,000 tonnes abroad.

Landings by the UK fleet were down in 2016, around a 1% reduction on 2015. Reduced landings in pelagic fish account for much of this fall. The value of landings by the UK fleet has increased in recent years, to £936 million in 2016. 

The total number of fishermen is around 12,000, down from around 20,000 in the mid-1990s. The number of fishing vessels in the UK fleet has fallen by 29% since 1996.


 The UK is a net importer of fish, with net imports of around 290,000 tonnes in 2016, worth £1.4bn. 

The UK fleet has the second-largest total catch (in terms of landed weight) and the second-largest fleet size (in gross tonnage terms) in the EU.

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