United Kingdom - Fishing

Lying on the continental shelf, the British Isles are surrounded by waters mainly less than 90 m (300 ft) deep, which serve as excellent fishing grounds and breeding grounds for fish. Small fishing villages are found all along the coast, but the modern large-scale industry is concentrated at Hull, Grimsby, Fleetwood, Yarmouth, and Lowestoft in England. The major herring landings are made at numerous east coast ports of Scotland, notably Aberdeen. The fishing industry has been declining, but it remains important to Scotland, which accounts for 67% by weight of all fish landings in the United Kingdom; England and Wales account for 30% and Northern Ireland for 3%.

The deep-sea fleet has declined in recent years, primarily because the adoption by most nations, including the United Kingdom, of a 200-mi fishery limit decreased the opportunity to fish in distant waters. Some of the larger vessels have, instead, turned to fishing for mackerel and herring off the west coast. The British fishing fleet had 9,983 vessels with 239,783 GRT at the start of 1996. Landings of all types of fish by UK fishing vessels totaled 746,291 tons in 2000. Leading species caught that year were mackerel (193,638 tons), herring (82,658 tons), and haddock (50,644 tons). The United Kingdom exported $1,258 million in fishery products in 2000, while imports were valued at $2,183 million.

Salmon farming takes place primarily in Scotland; total UK production of farmed salmon in 2001 was around 138,400 tons. Domestic demand for seafood grew during 1996–98 due to public concerns over beef tainted by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or Mad Cow disease).

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