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Fishing industry

Research guide

Published: 18 Jul 2019 Updated: 02 Sep 2020 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook
Annually updated report on major agricultural commodities, biofuels and fish produced by the OECD and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Detailed analysis, interactive data and projections for each sector cover:

  • market situation
  • projection highlights
  • market trends and prospects
  • main issues and uncertainties.

Seafood and meat exports to the EU
Report from the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (April 2021). Areas considered include how the TCA has affected seafood and meat exporters to date, the effect on the market for British exports, the longer-term structural issues that now affect businesses and how some of these barriers to trade might be reduced.

Market research

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for fishing industry from Euromonitor, with a range of global, country and company level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including marine fishing and marine aquaculture. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces globalindustry research reports.

A full listing of reports covering the fish and fish products sector within the food and catering industry. Report summaries, table of contents and a sample report are available..

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Marine Management Organisation (MMO)

The MMO compiles a range of statistics, including monthly catch and landing figures.

Its UK Sea Fisheries Statistics provide a comprehensive annual report on statistics. The reports include an overview and structure of the industry in the UK, Europe and Worldwide; data on catches and landings; main stocks and their level of exploitation. A historicalarchive provides annual reports for the industry back to 1866.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Fishing (03.1)
  • Aquaculture (03.2)

See Section A: Agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Scottish Sea Fisheries

The Scottish Government provides annual Scottish seafisheries statistics, running from 1965. Information includes data on vessels, employment and landings.

Statistics on Europe


The European Commission's statistics hub, Eurostat, compiles a range of data on fisheries in the EU, including:

  • main tables showing catches in different regions, aquaculture production and fishing fleet numbers;
  • database with more detailed figures for Atlantic, Pacific, Antarctic and Indian Ocean regions as well as inland waters.

Statistics on Asia


ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, produces an annual Statistical Yearbook which includes a chapter on agriculture. Figures cover:

  • agriculture land and land use
  • GDP share, employment, export and import share of agriculture sector
  • export and import of fishery products
  • exports and imports of selected agricultural products and inputs
  • major markets of agricultural export commodities
  • origin of agricultural import commodities.

Global statistics

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)

The NAFO publishes data from its members about catches and landings in the Annual Fisheries Statistics Databases. The databases give figures for catches by species, area, country and year.


The OCED publishes an annual Review of Fisheries: Country Statistics giving data for a number of OECD and non-OECD countries on:

  • fishing fleet capacity
  • employment in fisheries
  • fish landings
  • aquaculture production
  • recreational fisheries
  • government financial transfers
  • imports and exports of fish.

The latest reports:


The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) collects and compiles industrial statistics known as INDSTAT, which give information on:

  • number of employees
  • number of establishments
  • output
  • value added
  • total wages and salaries.

Statistics by country are available for:

  • Processing/preserving of fish (1512)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the CommodityTrade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic invertebrates (03)
  • Meat, fish and seafood food preparations (16)

UN Industrial Commodity Statistics Database

The UN provides statistics on the quantity of goods produced by country in the IndustrialCommodity Statistics Database.

Figures are available for:

  • Fish, fish fillets, other fish meat and fish livers and roes, frozen (21)
  • Fish, dried, salted or in brine; smoked fish; edible fish meal (21)
  • Fish, otherwise prepared or preserved; caviar (21)



The Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) includes average employment costs within this sector which can be found in Table 14. Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • managers in animal husbandry, forestry and fishing;
  • agricultural and fishing trades;
  • fishing and agriculture related occupations; and
  • fishmongers, poultry dressers.

The annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), published by the Office for National Statistics, includes total employee and employment estimates for different industries for Great Britain and the UK. Figures are broken down to show full-time/part-time and public/private splits. The dataset Industry – Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES): Table 2 includes statistics for:

  • Fishing (031)
  • Aquaculture (032)

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


Gov.uk provides some guidance on the main legislation applicable to various sectors, including commercial fishing and fisheries.

Fisheries businesses: working after Brexit transition
Guidance from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs for fisheries businesses now that the transition period has ended.

UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Fisheries
Overview from the House of Commons Library (March 2001)of some of the changes that took place for the fisheries industry on 1 January 2021 after the Brexit transition ended.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:


Exporting or moving fish from the UK
Guidance from GOV.UK on exporting or moving fish for human consumption from the UK .

Importing or moving fish to the UK
Guidance from GOV.UK on how to import or move fish for human consumption to the UK.


Mapping market access barriers to food and drink exports
Report prepared by Grant Thornton for Defra, published May 2013. The executive summary examines barriers to UK exports and opportunities for the food and drink sectors, with target export countries and products.

UK business guides

Atom Content Marketing guides

The Start Up Donut from Atom Content Marketing provides practical information on starting up and running a number of small business types. Guides cover a range of areas including market research, current trends, regulations, products and services, promotion and pricing. They include:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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