Profiling Highlands fishing communities

Profiling of the socio-economic contribution of fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing associated with the Highland Council region was undertaken by Crick across the first quarter 2019 – conducted on behalf of the Highland & Moray Fisheries Local Action Group (H&M FLAG) and the Highland Council.

Further work on the quantification of impacts and on the strategic significance of findings was developed in subsequent months. This formed the basis of a workshop held in Inverness in September, attended by a range of industry, harbour and Highland Council stakeholders. The workshop provided the opportunity to reflect on some of the study’s key findings, to test strategic implications through informed debate, and to explore how some of the threats and opportunities revealed through the analysis could be addressed in future development planning. A final report has been presented to the FLAG and the Highland Council as a resource document for use in programming and funding considerations.  

The study was primarily a desk-based exercise, drawing together information from a range of public datasets, complemented with information from a wide range of published reports (formal and gray literature), plus some limited field visits and interviews.

To provide an appropriate level of “granularity” in study that best reflects the distribution of the industry across the Highland Council area, analysis focuses on seven function seafood areas. These are – A1 Scrabster / Wick, A2 Kinlochbervie, A3 Lochinver, A4 Ullapool / Gairloch, A5 Kyle / Skye, A6 Mallaig / Fort William, A7Inverness / Inner Moray Firth.

The information so collected has been used to estimate the economic output and employment associated with, respectively, fishing, aquaculture, ancillary services, and seafood processing. This indicated total direct employment in the seafood industry in the order of 2,400 people, paying wages conservatively estimated at £61.6M. Overall local economic contribution is spatially distributed as illustrated below.