Thriving fish industry lands £73.5m catches in South West
Fisheries leaders have called for their industry to be given "due respect" after new figures showed the sector was thriving and pumping tens of millions of pounds into the economy.
According to a comprehensive report published yesterday by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), UK fishing boats landed less catch last year, but saw a massive increase in its value.
For the first time, shellfish, a mainstay of the industry in the Devon, formed the majority of landings in England by the country's fleet.
Paignton fisherman Nick Prust, of the South West Inshore Fishermen's Association, said there was some good news but not everything was rosy.
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"Yes it has been a good year for some in shell fishing," he said.
"Some products were getting good prices, like langoustines and lobsters.
"But that's not been true all round."
However, Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (FPO), was more buoyant and said the figures proved the fishing industry was a force to be reckoned with.
"These figures from the MMO show that it is time the fishing industry got its due respect," he said.
The annual snapshot of the UK's fisheries provided by the MMO shows that in 2011, vessels landed just under 600,000 tonnes of seafish, including shellfish, into ports at home and abroad.
This represents a one per cent fall in quantity. However, the total value of the catch was £828 million, a 15 per cent increase on the previous year.