Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Peterhead Port Authority set a new record for fish landings last year, with £232 million worth of catches traded across the quaysides.

That beat the total for 2022 of £220 million, itself a record in the modern era, and cemented Peterhead’s position as the largest fisheries port in Europe.

Total landings to 31st December 2023 stood at 193,279 tonnes with a gross value of £232,428,422, compared to 166,773 tonnes worth £219,588,085 for 2022.

Of those, whitefish accounted for 55,936 tonnes worth £102,415,393 (50,307 tonnes worth £100,786,344 in 2022).

Pelagic stocks reached 131,534 tonnes worth £113,082,365 (108,137 tonnes worth £94,957,381 in 2022).

The shellfish figures were lower, 5,809 tonnes worth £16,930,664 (8,329 tonnes worth £23,844,360 in 2022).

Peter Duncan, PPA Head of Fishing – Commercial, said: “It was a very successful year for landings, with a notable increase in pelagic landings due to the economic link which is more than compensating for a decline in shellfish landings.

“Whitefish landings were slightly ahead for the year also, and improved quotas for 2024 for most of the key commercial stocks bode well the future.

“The Port offers first-class facilities and infrastructure for the landing and selling of fish, with the maintenance of quality at the heart of everything we do, and is constantly seeking ways to improve its contribution to the seafood supply chain.”

In recent years PPA has invested over £50 million in a new state-of-the-art fish market and quayside improvements that allow for vessels to land at all states of the tide.

Peterhead Fish Market has a key storage and distribution accreditation from BRCGS and has Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) chain of custody status, highlighting its reputation as a centre of sustainable seafood excellence.

Peterhead was also the first UK port to receive Responsible Fishing Port status from Seafish.

Mr Duncan said: “With the global demand for seafood rising the whole time, the certification strengthened the reputation of the market and individual businesses and opened up new business opportunities for all.

“On top of the Responsible Fishing Port and BRCGS rating, it signals that Peterhead is committed to value in the seafood supply chain.”

The Port’s ongoing support for the fishing industry is underlined by its investment in a new ice factory that is under construction adjacent to the fish market.

PPA took ownership of the existing ice factory, previously operated by the North East Ice Company in the inner harbour, in July 2022.

Stephen Paterson, PPA chief financial officer, said: “The Port is delighted to be sponsoring the Scottish Skipper Expo at the P&J Live in Aberdeen this May.

“We have always had a strong presence at this event and our headline support demonstrates that we are fully committed to this industry which is so vital not only to the north-east but to our coastal and island communities more generally.”