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Fisheries: Manpower

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average age of the British fishing workforce is. (249050)

Figures on the average age of the fishing workforce are not available although a survey in 2006 produced the following estimates.

Number of regular and part-time fishermen on UK registered vessels in 2005 by age breakdown



Less than 20


20 to 55


Over 55


To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of people who are (a) directly and (b) indirectly employed by the UK fishing fleet. (249289)

UK fisheries administrations estimate that at the end of 2007 there were 12,700 people directly employed in the fish-catching sector, either on a full or part-time basis.

The UK Sea Fish Industry Authority (SEAFISH) has published an analysis (in January 2008) that estimates that if the whole of the sea fishing sector were removed, a total of around 29,000 full-time equivalent jobs would be lost initially, including the 12,700 catching jobs, dependent upstream and downstream jobs and jobs in the wider economy which depend indirectly on these jobs.

Estimating the number of related jobs onshore whose existence can be attributed at least in part to the UK catching sector alone is complicated by the high levels of imported fish upon which jobs in our processing sector depend. Around 90 per cent. of whitefish processed within the EU is sourced from outside EU waters. SEAFISH estimates that there are around 15,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the UK fish-processing sector.

The full report on economic impacts of the UK sea fishing and fish processing sectors is available via the SEAFISH website.