The value of Scottish fish landing has dropped by nine per cent over the past 12 months, according to new figures.
A report by the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) highlighted "a startling drop" when it came to the value of fish landed at Scottish ports. Over the course of 2013, 367,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish came into Scotland with a value of £430 million, a significant decrease on the figures recorded in 2012.
It was not just fish which had recorded a drop as pelagic, demersal and shellfish had also performed poorly over the past year. Shellfish suffered the biggest decline of all with a 14 per cent drop to £137 million.
The SFF stated that there were decreases in the value of key fish species which it put down to a reduction in prices. Mackerel remains the most valuable type of fish in the Scottish market, accounting for £126 million of the total value of Scottish landings. However, even mackerel did not match the figures set in 2012, resulting in a five per cent drop.
Despite the drop in figures, Richard Lochhead, SFF secretary, remained positive: "Whilst the value of those landings dipped compared with the previous year, the value still remained relatively strong given the challenging global market conditions.
"I am encouraged to see there has been a five per cent increase in the number of fishermen employed on Scottish based vessels."
The fishing sector was one of the industries that was wary about increased sanctions placed on Russia by the US, European Union and other nations in response to the Ukraine crisis. In retaliation to the sanctions, Russia imposed a food embargo on imports from the Western counties which imposed the restrictions.
Members of The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association were concerned that the ban would impact on the sector and threaten jobs. Of the £115 million Russia spends on imports from the UK, £17 million is spent on frozen fish and losing this revenue could seriously hamper the sector.