Profitability has improved slightly across all sectors of UK seafood processing, said the Sea Fish Industry Authority in its 2004 survey of the sector.
There are 573 processing companies in the UK, compared with 541 in 2000.
The purchasing power of supermarkets is piling on the pressure to modernise and be more efficient. Some 18,180 people worked in processing in 2004, down 18% on 2000.
The biggest source of fish purchases by primary processors is at auction (42%), followed by direct contract with
fishing vessels. Secondary processors source mainly through imports (70% of supplies). The total whitefish available to UK processors is in decline while pelagic volume is increasing.
Adding value to raw product is proving a key factor to helping suppliers buoy up their profitability.