What commercial fishing provides for the UK

Commercial fishing in the UK creates employment and income, which supports thousands of the small businesses that are important to coastal communities. Fishing can be hard work and it is dangerous, highly weather-dependent and hence unpredictable. It is an industry governed by complex regulations. 

As in most of the developed world, the UK’s fishing industry is variously subdivided into industrial (generally pelagic and whitefish) sectors, certain large and small shellfish sectors, and other small-scale commercial operators. Recreational fishing is yet another sector with its own challenges, but some recreationally targeted fish and shellfish overlap with stocks of interest to the commercial sector too. Because in the UK all the large-scale and industrial fishing activities are already fully operative and managed through tight regulation, it is generally now only smaller scale operations that still allow for expansion or better product utilisation, or even the establishment of new fisheries.


Co-existence of the commercial fishing and offshore wind power industries

With what does the commercial fishing industry provide the UK?

First and foremost, fishing yields a primary source of natural, healthy food, rich in essential proteins and oils that, for the sake of future generations, should be harvested sustainably. Certification of products by organisations such as the Marine Stewardship Council is as good a proof as possible that a fishery is being carried out sustainably (in terms of fish/shellfish stocks and the marine ecosystem in which they are found). There may also still be some under-utilised stocks and marine resources that have potential to boost the industry’s contribution to the UK economy further.

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