A traditional industry in the area, the sea fisheries in the Highlands region account for almost half of all Scottish landings. In total, landings in the HIE area are worth more than £150 million a year.
The number of fishing voyages has declined due, at least in part, to the decommissioning scheme introduced by the Scottish Executive.
Nonetheless, although not as significant in overall terms as it once was, fishing still provides an important source of employment in a number of local communities, and the number of people regularly employed in our region's ports has increased since 1997 from 207 to 283.
This is particularly the case in the west of Sutherland, where fishing is still very important to the local economies of Lochinver/ Kinlochbervie. In 2001, the three landing areas in Caithness and Sutherland landed fish with a value of £46.2m, making up 18% of the landings for all Scottish ports.