Fish landings are down 15%

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Fish worth over £200 million were landed at North Sea ports by Scottish based vessels in 2013 - over £2 million worth landed at Eyemouth.

The Eyemouth district as a whole - which takes in Burnmouth, Cove, Dunbar, Eyemouth, Granton, North Berwick, Port Seton and St Abbs - landed 2411 tonnes worth £6.7 million.

This was the lowest recorded for Eyemouth for a decade according to Christine Bell, Eyemouth Harbour Trust business manager.

“Last year’s (2013) volume of fish landings into Eyemouth were the lowest recorded in Eyemouth in the past decade and were 15% lower than in the previous year (2012),” said Christine.

“The main species landed in Eyemouth is prawns (nephrops) and the poor prawn catches in 2013 were noted all over Scotland, and this was certainly felt here in Eyemouth.’

On a Scotland wide level the value of nephrops, which represents 15 per cent of the total value of Scottish landings in 2013 and 47 per cent of the value of shellfish landings, fell in real terms by 23 per cent (£19 million) from 2012.

And there’s every likelihood that fish landings this year will continue on that downward trend for the port of Eyemouth because local prawn fishermen reported in the spring that the fishing was showing no signs of improvement.

This, on top of a continuing drop in the number of days that the local boats can go to sea - down from 5,384 voyages in 2009 for the Eyemouth district to 4,109 in 2013, means life isn’t easy for Berwicshire’s 128 fishermen.

There are 109 boats fishing out of the eight ports in the Eyemouth district, predominantly catching nephrops, the vast majority (89) being smaller vessels, under 10 metres, 78 of them involved in creel fishing.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Given the difficult economic trading conditions these statistics show that overall the volume of landings from the Scottish fleet held up reasonably well in 2013. Whilst the value of those landings dipped compared with the previous year, the value still remained relatively strong given the challenging global market conditions.”