Scottish fishermen numbers 'fall by 5%'

Fishing on boat Sustain
Image caption The Scottish Fishermen's Federation said the figures highlighted difficulties

The number of fishermen working in the industry in Scotland has fallen by 5%, according to new figures.

The figures from the Scottish government for 2012 also showed there were 49 fewer fishing boats than in the previous year, a drop of 2%.

And landings were down 9% by value at £466m, although their volume rose 2%.

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) said it highlighted the difficulties faced by the industry.

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: "These final confirmed fisheries statistics for 2012 serve to highlight the major challenges faced by our fishing fleet.

"In particular, the fall in value comes at the time when the Scottish fleet is facing rapidly increasing operational costs set against the background of incredibly tight restrictions on the number of fishing days allowed.

"Perhaps most worrying of all is the continuing decline in the number of fishermen employed."

He added: "While it is important that we have a fleet size that is in line with the available catching opportunity, we are now at a stage where the majority of fish stocks are increasing.

"This is why it is so vital that the correct management and support measures are secured to ensure that there is a healthy fleet in place to ensure the continuing harvesting of this incredibly important and sustainable food resource."

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