Fishing data collection, coverage, processing and revisions

How data on landings statistics are collected and processed by fisheries administrations in the UK.

Fishing statistics are calculated using data collected and processed by fisheries administrations in the UK:

  • Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
  • Marine Scotland
  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland (DARD)
  • Welsh Government
  • Departments in Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man

The activity data collected are part of the monitoring and control of fishing activity required by each Member State under various sets of EU legislation. There are two main pieces of legislation that set out these requirements:

This requires skippers to keep and submit logbooks, and provide landing declarations and sales notes.

The responsibility for fisheries management and control within the UK is a devolved matter and there is a significant degree of delegation of responsibility to each administration. Fisheries administrations have autonomy in how they manage activity allowing each administration to structure its operations in ways that suit their own specific management issues. However, all administrations work together to ensure that collectively there are common standards of monitoring and enforcement of EU legislation.

In addition to the reporting requirements that are set out in EU legislation, the master, owner or charterer of a licensed fishing vessel can be required to provide statistical information and other information. Details are in the Sea Fisheries (Conservation) Act 1967 and the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1992.

The method and exact nature of the data collected on fishing activity depends on the length of the vessel.

Data collection for vessels over 10 metres in length

The fishing logbook is the primary method of data collection. It captures data on fishing activity by individual vessels by trip, and for each day of activity within a trip. This includes details of the catch, by species, in terms of the presentation and quantity of fish retained on board. Information is also collected on the fishing gear used and the area where the fish were caught. Area details are division, rectangle and zone as defined by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

Supplying logbook data is legally required for all over 10 metre vessels for catches of all species. Data for UK vessels must be submitted within 48 hours of landing to UK authorities – this includes landings into foreign ports.

Landing declarations provide information on the weight and presentation of fish landed by species. As with logbooks, landing declarations must be submitted to authorities within 48 hours of landing.

Sales notes are required in respect of first sales of fish and fishery products. Sales notes for first sales of fish must be submitted within 48 hours of sale (24 hours if submitting electronically) by the registered buyer of the fish, except at designated auction centres where the registered seller has responsibility.

From 1 July 2012, UK fisheries administrations have been enforcing a strict expectation that all UK fishing vessels 15 metres and over in length should be reporting logbook and landing declaration data electronically. Fisheries administrations have now extended this to vessels 12 metres and over in length.

Also, from 1 January 2009, buyers and sellers with an annual turnover of first sale fish of more than €400,000 have been required to submit sales notes electronically. This threshold was reduced to €200,000 from 1 January 2011.

A UK electronic reporting systems (ERS) hub has been set-up to collect, process, and store the data.

The requirements to report data on fishing activity are set out by EU legislation. Each fisheries administration operates a system of checking the individual submissions of data to ensure their accuracy and completeness. The rules applied are common across each administration and based on the structure set out in EU legislation for the fishing logbook, landing declaration and sales notes.

These checks are to ensure that valid data are reported within the returns and that internal checks within the submitted data are carried out to ensure consistency. In addition there are systems in place that carry out cross-checks between the activity data reported and other sources of information on activity. These include satellite position reports and sightings of vessels collected by each administration during air, sea or land surveillance activities.

UK fisheries administrations therefore operate common standards and procedures to ensure the consistent treatment of the data within the collection processes. This ensures that UK data are consistent with EU requirements for completeness and accuracy.

The electronic reporting systems operated by fishing vessels contain a limited range of validation checks to help ensure correct data are reported. The electronic hub that receives and processes the data has additional checks using a suite of business rules and generates failure messages that are set to the vessel operators in cases whether the business rules are breached. Skippers would be required to resubmit corrected data. The data entry systems used to capture information from paper declarations contains similar checks.

In cases where a discrepancy has been identified, corrections are made to the data as appropriate. Any discrepancy found could be indicative of a breach of EU legislation, either in terms of incorrect reporting of activity or the activity reported might be in breach of EU requirements. These discrepancies are investigated and appropriate actions taken.

These can range from a simple verbal instruction to the vessel operator advising them of how to correctly report information, up to a full prosecution of the master and/or owners of the vessels concerned if a serious offence has been found to have been committed. Minor issues are usually corrected during the data capture process. For more serious and larger scale issues then corrections may not be made until after the results of prosecutions are known. Details of recent prosecutions carried out by the MMO can be found in the enforcement news section.

Data collection for vessels 10 metres and under in length

For 10 metre and under vessels, there is no statutory requirement for fishermen to declare their catches. Historically, information for this sector has been collected with the co-operation of the industry and included:

  • log sheets and landing declarations voluntarily supplied by fishermen
  • sales notes and assessments of landings collected from market sources and by officials located in the ports

This data collection has been replaced after the Registration of Buyers and Sellers of First-Sale Fish Scheme was introduced in September 2005. Registered buyers are now legally required to provide sales notes for commercially sold fish.

During 2005 and 2006, UK fisheries administrations introduced a system of restrictive licensing for activity targeted at shellfish. As part of this system, new reporting requirements were introduced requiring fishermen fishing with 10 metre and under vessels to complete diaries of their daily activity to be submitted each month. Summary information from these diaries is now in use in Northern Ireland but was discontinued in the rest of the UK at the end of February 2009.

Data coverage

Data collection for vessels over 10 metres in length aims to achieve full coverage of activity by this sector of the fleet, i.e. these vessels are required to submit complete details on their activity every time they go to sea to fish commercially. For the 10 metre and under sector, landings are recorded on sales notes provided by the registered buyers. Some information, such as gear and fishing area, are not recorded on the sales note but this information is added by coastal staff based on local knowledge of the vessels they administer - for example, from observations of the vessel during inspections at ports or from air and sea surveillance activities as well as discussions with the owner and/or operator of the vessel.

From 1 January 2011 the Isle of Man authorities became fully integrated with the data collection and recording systems operated by mainland fisheries administrations, enabling the inclusion of details of the activity of their vessels that was previously not available. This meant the aggregate summary totals the Isle of Man previously supplied to supplement UK activity data were replaced by records showing the same level of detail as provided by mainland vessels. Landings for the larger Channel Islands fleet are also recorded on the data systems, but relatively small amounts of landings by the smaller vessels (less than one tenth of one per cent of all UK fleet landings) are not included. Details of these landings are provided by Jersey and Guernsey authorities for quota management purposes but they are excluded from the monthly statistics publication.

The reliability of the data collected is dependent on the information provided by fishermen. The reporting requirements on fishermen are set out by EU legislation with each administration producing guidance notes for fishermen on what their reporting obligations are. As mentioned above, UK fisheries administrations carry out a mix of manual and automatic checks on the information provided by vessel operators. These include a check between logbook information and that given in the sales notes or observed as landed as well as checks against other sources of information like satellite position reports, information from aerial and at-sea surveillance and inspection activity carried out by UK enforcement officers.

Despite legal obligations for fishermen to declare their catches, a proportion of fishing activity remains unreported. A 2009 study jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for International Development (Agnew DJ, Pearce J, Pramod G, Peatman T, Watson R, et al. (2009) Estimating the Worldwide Extent of Illegal Fishing. PloS ONE 4(2):e4570) estimated that between 2000 and 2003, illegal fishing in the northeast Atlantic amounted to between 5 and 13 per cent of reported catches of species studied. So the extent of illegal and unreported fishing by UK vessels is uncertain and will vary across stocks. However, it is considered that the overall level of unreported fishing has been reduced in recent years following the introduction of a scheme of registration for buyers and sellers of first-sale fish, and the implementation of Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The statistics published in the monthly return represent landings reported to the fisheries administrations.

Landings do not typically equal total catches, as fish may be discarded. Discarding could occur in cases where fishermen would accidently catch fish which they did not have quota for, catch damaged or less profitable fish, or catch undersized fish which they could not sell. The degree of discarding varies by stock, and with the area and type of fishing being carried out. Details of levels of discards can be found in the advice released by ICES each year as it forms an important element of the assessment of the state of fish stocks.

The EU’s new landing obligation, being phased in from 2015 onwards, is intended to end the discarding of marketable fish back into the sea, which has proved to be bad for fish stocks, bad for the marine environment and costly for fishermen. A specific assessment has been collated of this information for fisheries including those that take place around the UK or are of interest to UK fishing vessels that will be covered by the landing obligation. More details are available at:

To allow fishermen to adapt to the change, the landing obligation will be introduced gradually, between 2015 and 2019 for all commercial fisheries of species subject to annual quotas. As of 1 January 2015, the landing obligation has been in force for pelagic and industrial fishing, as well as for salmon and cod fisheries in the Baltic.

Therefore the figures presented in the monthly statistics should not be interpreted as total removals from the sea; the figures are the reported live weight of fish landings.

Data processing

Information from log sheets, landing declarations, sales notes and other sources is keyed into computers connected to the main databases by government staff at port offices, or is transferred electronically from the UK ERS Hub. Individual database structures will differ for each fisheries administration but the details collected will be the same. Data from each administration’s database are merged into a single unified database for analysis. Details of the areas fished are taken from the logbooks and entered as codes for the ICES divisions and statistical rectangles. Where a statistical rectangle is split into different areas – for instance, where it’s partly in EU waters and partly in Norwegian waters – an extra code is used to indicate the zone fished. Where a vessel fishes in more than one area in a single trip, the total amounts for the trip of each species, as given in the sales notes and landing declarations are allocated to the areas in proportion to the estimated quantities of the species taken from each area, as recorded in the logbook.

In many cases only the weight of fish landed is provided, as it is impractical to record the weight of fish at the time of capture due to working conditions. The landed weight may differ significantly from the weight of the fish as it was taken from the sea, in large part due to the processing of the catch on board the vessel, such as gutting and filleting. To render the data comparable, the landed weights are automatically converted to a live weight equivalent using standard EU conversion factors according to the species landed and its presentation, e.g. gutted or skinned.

The data capture systems used include sets of business rules to check that the data being submitted for each fishing trip conform to certain standards – this includes checking individual data items to ensure that they are valid entries (e.g. a date is a valid date, text is not entered where a number is expected, valid information for ports visited or species landed are reported etc.) The business rules are maintained by database managers and reviewed by statisticians on a regular basis. The complete fishing records are transmitted to the central computer systems where further checks are carried out on the data before they are reflected in the main landings databases. These checks include more detailed processing of the data reported for a fishing trip comparing the data elements reports to make sure that the information for a trip is internally consistent – e.g. making sure that a date of landing is after the date of departure for a trip.

In addition to the validation processes listed above, the information reported by fishermen is run through automatic cross-checks with other sources of information on activity available to fisheries administrations to ensure consistency and accuracy in the information reported. The majority of these checks are mandated within the EU legislation. These checks include comparing the activity data reported against the satellite tracking data that larger fishing vessels are required to operate while they are at sea; checking the information reported in logbooks against the data reported by auction centres and fish merchants for fish sold by the vessel operators; comparisons against any information on sightings of vessels while at sea by fisheries administrations’ surveillance vessels and aerial surveillance.

Regular checks on data validity are also carried out by the statistics team as an extra safeguard. These include identifying unlikely combinations of species and fishing area which are reported to port staff for correction where necessary.

In addition to the processes and checks outlined above to ensure the quality of the data captured and held on fishing activity, the European Commission and its associated bodies carry out inspections and audits of the UK’s systems to control fishing activity. Within these inspections, visiting officials investigate various aspects of the overall administrative processes in place to control fishing activity to review the degree to which they comply with the EU legislative obligations. Appropriate actions are taken in light of the results of these inspections to ensure that the administrative systems in place are fit for purpose and provide the required level of control on fishing activity. More information on the EU system for fisheries controls is available on the DG MARE website – the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

MMO holds information on all landings into England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man by UK vessels and of landings abroad by vessels administered by MMO, Welsh Government, DARD and Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. Marine Scotland provides figures for landings into Scotland by all UK vessels and landings abroad by Scottish administered vessels.

Once accepted as valid and complete, activity and landings data for the UK are compiled in a central database containing vital information from the systems managed by MMO and Marine Scotland.

Regular checks, often as part of quota and effort management or analyses for enforcement purposes, are made on the quality of the data and unusual records referred to staff members in coastal offices to confirm or correct as necessary. Fisheries administrations also issue a breakdown of landings to the Producer Organisations who are asked to reconcile the landings with their members’ fishing trips as part of the validation process. Also, before the data are published, amendments are made to records with implausible average prices based on average prices for the same species.

When calculating average prices, landings with zero value are excluded to give a true reflection of the price of fish being sold. There are various reasons why landings may have a zero value – some fish which cannot be sold and have a zero value, like undersized fish landed as part of catch quota work, or scientific dispensation landings that cannot be sold but have to be recorded in sales notes to allow cross checks with landing declarations. There are also instances where fish are not offered for sale or are intended for sale at a later date. This was a relatively new issue following the introduction of electronic reporting and mainly affected large landings of herring and mackerel into the Netherlands and Germany, accounting for around 5 per cent of all UK landings. However, a recent exercise saw imputed values, based on sales agents’ price figures, being added to the database for 2012 to 2014. This exercise is continuing for 2015 data and it is expected that the total weight of zero value landings will be far less than one per cent of all landings.

Information can be found in Appendix 4 of UK Sea Fisheries Statistics.

Data revisions: Policy

MMO produces its annual statistical publication, UK Sea Fisheries Statistics, in September each year. A detailed breakdown of landings for 2015 were shown for the first time in the annual report while previously published data for 2011 to 2014 were revised to reflect the latest available figures. The magnitude of revisions is typically larger for more recent years although the size of revisions is usually very small. There will be a number of causes of revisions:

  • receipt of additional data. Despite strict data reporting requirements, some data are not received or entered at the time of publication.
  • revisions to data sources. Corrections are made to database entries throughout the year where these are found to be incorrect. In addition, for landings data systematic corrections are made to implausible quantities and values (including those trips with zero value) prior to production of the publication to reduce the influence of outliers
  • rectification of data processing errors. Where data are found to have been incorrectly processed for a previous publication, these errors are corrected as soon as possible.

Information on annual revisions can be found in Appendix 5 of UK Sea Fisheries Statistics.

For the monthly statistical publication, data are presented for the current year-to-date as well as for the most recent month. Year-to-date figures are also compared with the same period in the previous year. So, for example, the August 2016 publication issued at the end of October 2016 will show cumulative figures for January to August 2016 as well as figures for August 2016. The year-to-date figures will be compared with those for January to August 2015. Current year data are based on the latest available figures from fisheries administrations’ data systems and will be subject to the same types of revision as described in (i) to (iii) above. Figures for 2015 and 2016 in the monthly return will be revised once UK Sea Fisheries Statistics is published in September 2017. All figures are therefore provisional. It is worth noting that the deadline for submitting 2015 catch data to the European Commission, primarily for quota and effort management purposes, was 15 February 2016. To ensure UK data reporting was as complete as possible, concerted efforts were made by coastal staff, at the end of 2015 and well into the New Year, to remove the backlog in data entry. Changes to 2015 data published in September 2016 were therefore relatively small.

To see time series of historic landings based on data in the most recent editions of UK Sea Fisheries Statistics, the Monthly data 2008 to 2013 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 79KB) (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 88KB) shows charts and data comparing total tonnage landed over the six year period for the following landings:

  • UK vessels landing into the UK
  • UK vessels landing abroad
  • UK vessels landing into the UK and abroad
  • Foreign vessels landing into the UK
  • UK and foreign vessels landing into the UK

Monthly data 2008 to 2013

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Data revisions: Year to date figures

Lags in data entry vary during the year – this reflects peaks and troughs in activity due to seasonal factors such as the weather affecting the level of activity as well as the availability of some fish within the seas around the coast of the UK, with the level of activity seen having a direct impact on the level of data entry work required. The information presented here concentrates on the impact of lags on the cumulative landings data for the current year.

We expect these to be most significant early on in the year and reduce in terms of their impact on cumulative totals as the year progresses and earlier data become relatively stable. Year-to-date landings are the key figures used to compare the performance of the UK fishing fleet in the current year with earlier years, given the focus on annual quotas set for fish stocks that are considered as under pressure from the level of fishing activity seen.

In order to better understand the effect of revisions, the Monthly lags - year to date (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 197KB) spreadsheet shows charts comparing the values of the cumulative 2015 year to date figures at the time they were first published with the most recent estimates published in UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2015 for the following landings:

  • UK vessels landing into the UK
  • UK vessels landing abroad
  • UK vessels landing into the UK and abroad
  • Foreign vessels landing into the UK
  • UK and foreign vessels landing into the UK

Monthly lags - year to date

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Separate charts are shown for demersal fish, pelagic fish, shellfish and all fish species.

Based on latest figures for UK vessels landing into the UK, lags in data for all fish are relatively small (see the ‘all fish’ chart in the sheet ‘1. UK land into UK’, and the data highlighted in yellow in the sheet ‘6. chart data’). For example, for 2015 data, the first estimates of cumulative landings for the year are generally around 1 per cent lower than the most recent estimates.

However, lags are far more pronounced for UK vessels landing abroad and for foreign vessels landing into the UK, since it takes longer to receive a full set of complete and validated documentation.

Lags are also more pronounced for demersal and shellfish species, whereas pelagic lags are very small. This is because pelagic fisheries are dominated by very large fishing vessels targeting industrial sized quantities of a small number of species (almost always landed whole) in fewer, but longer, fishing trips. Skippers and their agents are likely to operate highly organised businesses and completion of documentation will generally be to a higher standard requiring less manual intervention by data entry teams at the coast.

Trips involving demersal fish and shellfish comprise a larger number of vessels, fishing a greater number of trips and catching a wider range of species in far smaller amounts. Fish can have a range of presentations and the logbooks are more likely to be problematic, and the sheer volume of these landings can give rise to backlogs. Also, most shellfish species are not subject to quota and effort management and so have a lower priority in terms of data entry. Despite this, the actual tonnage identified in lags for these demersal and shellfish trips is relatively small compared with overall landings being reported.

Data revisions: Monthly figures

A new ‘revisions triangle’ analysis of the change in monthly figures for the same five categories of landings can be viewed in the spreadsheet.


This file is in an OpenDocument format

This shows how the first reported figures (or first estimates) change as the year progresses. We will continue to update this over the coming months and revised figures for historic years will become available once data are next updated for UK Sea Fisheries Statistics in September 2017.

Results show that for UK vessels landing into the UK, the total of the first estimates for 2014 and 2015 accounts for 97 per cent of the latest estimates. And for the second estimates this rises to 99 per cent. While there is some variation in the scale of revisions between individual months, we can say that we broadly expect the first month estimates to be within 3 per cent of final figures, and the second year estimates to be within 1 per cent. Because of the additional time it takes for landings abroad to be entered on our systems, we expect the first estimates of UK vessels landing into the UK and abroad to be within 6 per cent of the final figures, and the second estimates to be within 3 per cent.

As with the cumulative year to date figures, relative revisions for demersal fish and shellfish for UK vessels landing abroad and for foreign vessels landing into the UK will be greater but the amounts involved are considerably smaller.

Data revisions: Improving the statistics

MMO is taking steps to improve the electronic data submitted by the fishing industry. The systems on board fishing vessels are supplied directly to fishermen by commercial companies under a government administered type approval scheme. Consequently, fisheries administrations do not have direct control over the design and operation of the software systems so long as they meet the minimum functionality required by EU legislation.

Very little validation of data is implemented in the at-sea systems and so the quality of data depends strongly on the ability of the skipper to enter the correct information.

MMO has undertaken the following actions to improve the entry of data:

  • support to the Industry from a dedicated member of staff, who coaches skippers in the use of systems and deals with follow-up queries
  • training of ‘super users’ in each MMO coastal office to support local skippers to improve the quality of data submitted
  • funding the software suppliers to provide additional user training

Further actions include:

  • a redesign of MMO systems to improve efficiency of processing and to free up staff time to deal more proactively on data quality
  • improved reporting within the business to identify and resolve data quality issues more promptly
  • enhanced management information on the data entry and validation processes to ensure data are fit for purpose

MMO is also considering making better use of unconfirmed data, i.e. data which have not gone through the full suite of checks required under EU legislation, but where the key elements within it are regarded as fit for purpose for better management of fisheries. Several operational returns produced by fisheries administrations already make use of the unconfirmed data, for example, the weekly quota uptake monitoring spreadsheets. The MMO will be exploring the possibility of including unconfirmed data within the monthly landing release to further reduce the impact of lags in reported statistics.

Data reliability

The measures for control on the reporting of data on fishing activity provided by EU legislation are enforced through the activity carried out by officials within each of the UK fisheries administrations to ensure compliance with these reporting requirements. Where issues are identified with the data, either with the data being reported by individual fishing vessel owners/operators or individual merchants, or where the control regime itself is thought to have weaknesses, additional activities may be carried out to strengthen or supplement the existing reporting systems. In such cases, care is taken to ensure that there is no excessive or inappropriate additional reporting burden placed on those involved in the fishing industry.

Together these activities help to ensure that the data are considered fit for purpose - in terms of coverage and accuracy - as the key source of information with which officials and the industry can manage fishing activity. This includes activities such as the monitoring and management of the uptake of landings against the level of available fish quotas, and also the monitoring of activity by individual fishing vessels to ensure they comply with the limits on fishing effort as set out by various effort control regimes.

The information is also widely used to support the development of new and revision of existing fisheries policies within the UK. The data are also made available within the public domain for the use of those with an interest in identifying and assessing the types and levels of fishing activity seen around the UK coast and carried out by the UK fishing fleet.

Species list

The following species have been grouped together under a common name with their species code for reporting purposes.


Black seabream | BRB
Bream – Ray’s | POA
Gilt-head seabream | SBG
Red (Blackspot) seabream | SBR
Sea breams | SBX


Mixed crabs | CRA
Crabs (CP mixed sexes) | CRE
Green crab | CRG
Deepwater red crab | CRR
King crab | KCS
Stone crab | KCX
Deepwater red crab | KEF
Crabs – Velvet (swim) | LIO
Spider crabs | SCR


Black dogfish | CFB
Longnose velvet dogfish | CYP
Birdbeak dogfish | DCA
Unidentified dogfish | DGH
Spurdog | DGS
Black mouthed dogfish | SHO
Lesser spotted dog | SYC
Knifetooth dogfish | SYR
Dogfish (Scyliorhinidae) | SYX


Gurnards – Grey | GUG
Gurnards – Red | GUR
Tub gurnard | GUU
Gurnard and latchet | GUX


Lobsters | LBE
Lobster – Squat | LOQ


Mullet – Other | MUL
Red Mullet | MUR


Portuguese oysters | OYC
Native oysters | OYF
Pacific oysters | OYG
Oysters | OYX


Pilchards | PIL
Sardinelle aurita (Round) | SAA
Sardinelle maderensis (Flat) | SAE


Queen scallops | QSC
Scallops | SCE

Shrimps and prawns

Brown shrimps | CSH
Pink shrimps | PAN
Shrimps – Other | PEN
Shrimps – Pink (Northern prawn) | PRA

Skates and rays

Norwegian skate | JAD
Common stingray | JDP
White skate | RJA
Common skate (blue or grey) | RJB
Thornback ray | RJC
Small-eyed ray | RJE
Shagreen ray | RJF
Arctic skate | RJG
Blonde ray | RJH
Sandy ray | RJI
Spotted ray | RJM
Cuckoo ray | RJN
Long-nosed skate | RJO
Starry ray | RJR
Undulate ray | RJU
Skate (Round) | RJY
Skates and rays | SKA
Electric ray | TTO
Marbled electric ray | TTR


Sole | SOL
Sand sole | SOS


Argentine shortfin squid | SQA
Squid | SQC
European flying squid | SQE
Patagonian squid | SQP
Mixed squid and octopi | SQU

Glossary of terms

Administration port

Administration ports are responsible for issuing fishing vessel licences. The coastal office designated as a vessel’s administration port is typically the responsible office closest in proximity to a vessel’s operational base. A vessel’s administration port may differ from its registration port.

Cod Recovery Zone (CRZ)

The Cod Recovery Zone (CRZ) is a group of sea areas in which restrictions exist on fishing effort by vessels 10 metres or over using certain regulated gears. The CRZ comprises four areas: Kattegat, Irish Sea (ICES division VIIa), North Sea (ICES division IIIa excluding Kattegat; ICES sub-area IV; EU waters of ICES division IIa; ICES division VIId) and West of Scotland (ICES division VIa and EU waters of ICES division Vb).

The regulated gears are:

  • Beam trawls of mesh:
    • equal to or larger than 120 mm (BT1)
    • equal to or larger than 80 mm and less than 120 mm (BT2)
  • Gill nets, entangling nets (GN1)
  • Trammel nets (GT1)
  • Longlines (LL1)
  • Bottom trawls and seines of mesh:
    • equal to or larger than 100 mm (TR1)
    • equal to or larger than 70 mm and less than 100 mm (TR2)
    • equal to or larger than 16 mm and less than 32 mm (TR3)


The term demersal fish covers species living on or near the sea bed.

Engine power

Engine power refers to a measure of the power of a fishing vessel’s engine (in kW). Where an engine has been permanently de-rated and this has been declared to the Register of Shipping and Seamen (RSS), this is the de-rated engine power; otherwise, it is the maximum continuous engine power (MCEP) declared to the RSS. Where neither of these are available the registered engine power is used.

Fishing areas

Fishing areas are defined by international convention. The immediate waters around the UK are subdivided into ICES sub-areas IV (North Sea), VI (West of Scotland) and VII and its divisions the Irish Sea, VIIa; Celtic Sea, VIIg,h; Bristol Channel, VIIf; and the English Channel, VIId,e. See Appendix 3.

Fishing effort

Fishing effort is an aggregate measure of the activity of fishing vessels in a given sea area. It may be measured as the total time spent at sea (in hours or days), as the sum of the products of fishing capacity and time at sea for each vessel (in GT days) or as the sum of the products of engine power and time at sea for each vessel (in kW days).

Fish producer organisation (FPO)

Fish producer organisations are institutions set up in accordance with EC regulations to improve the market for their members’ catches. FPOs may also be granted responsibility by Fisheries Administrations for the management of fish quotas in addition to this function.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) coordinates and promotes marine research on oceanography, the marine environment, the marine ecosystem, and on living marine resources in the North Atlantic. See also: Fishing areas.

Landed weight

Mass (or weight) of a product at the time of landing, regardless of the state in which it has been landed. Landed fish may be whole, gutted and headed or filleted.

Live weight

The mass or weight of a product, when removed from the water.


The term pelagic fish covers species found mainly in shoals in midwater or near the surface of the sea.


A share in a total allowable catch (TAC) held by an EU member state. EU TACs are divided on the basis of a number of factors, including the member state’s past catch record. Shares are awarded according to a principle of ‘relative stability’, namely that each member state should enjoy a fixed percentage share of the fishing opportunities for commercial species across time. See also: Total allowable catch.


The term shellfish covers all crustaceans and molluscs.

Sole Recovery Zone (SRZ)

The Sole Recovery Zone (SRZ) corresponds to the Western Channel (ICES division VIIe), in which restrictions exist on fishing effort by vessels 10 metres or over using regulated gears. In the SRZ, regulated gears are beam trawls of mesh size equal to or greater than 80mm and static nets, including gill-nets, trammel-nets and tangle-nets, with mesh size less than 220mm.


A stock is that part of a species population exploited in a defined fishing area.

Total allowable catch (TAC)

A total allowable catch (TAC) is a catch limit set by EU fisheries ministers for a particular stock. TACs are fixed on an annual basis on the basis of scientific research by national and international organisations, including ICES and the European Commission’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). TACs are usually expressed in tonnes live weight. See also: Quota.

Western Waters

The Western Waters are a group of sea areas in which restrictions exist on fishing effort by vessels 15 metres or over on trips with certain target species. The Western Waters comprise nine areas, of which UK registered vessels are permitted to deploy effort in four: ICES sub-areas V and VI, ICES sub-area VII, ICES sub-area VIII and the Biologically Sensitive Area.

Target species are demersal species (excluding those covered by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2347/2002), scallops and edible crab and spider crab. In the Biologically Sensitive Area, restrictions exist on fishing effort by vessels 10 metres or over on trips with these target species.

Published 16 July 2014
Last updated 23 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Monthly lags updated
  2. Current month updated
  3. Monthly lag updated
  4. Monthly lags updated for June 2018
  5. Monthly lags current month updated
  6. Monthly lag updated
  7. Monthly lag for March 2018 added
  8. added new monthly dataset
  9. Monthly lags updated
  10. New data added
  11. Monthly lags updated
  12. Monthly lags updated for October
  13. Data updated
  14. Monthly lags added
  15. Updated monthly lag
  16. Monthly lags current month changed
  17. Monthly lags updated
  18. Monthly lags updated for April
  19. Monthly lags updated March 2017
  20. February Monthly lags added
  21. Monthly lags updated
  22. Monthly lags updated
  23. Monthly lags updated
  24. Monthly lags changed
  25. Monthly lags uploaded
  26. Documents updated
  27. Monthly lags updated
  28. Monthly lags current month updated
  29. Monthly lags updated
  30. Monthly lags updated for March 2016
  31. Monthly lags updated
  32. Monthly lags updated
  33. Monthly lags updated
  34. Monthly lags - current month updated
  35. Monthly lags updated
  36. Monthly lags - current month updated
  37. Text changed
  38. Monthly lags updated
  39. Monthly lags - current month updated
  40. Monthly lags current month updated
  41. Monthly data – 2008 to 2013 added
  42. Monthly lags updated
  43. Updated guidance with data revisions general, year to date figures, monthly figures and information on improving the statistics.
  44. First published.