Scenic fishing towns and villages can be found scattered throughout Highland’s vast coastline.  Here the fishing industry continues to be a way of life for many and is a vital source of employment in what is considered some of the most remote land in Western Europe.

From small inshore creel boats landing shellfish daily to the large trawlers and seine netters venturing the North Sea and Atlantic to bring back their catch for market, Highland is highly regarded for producing fresh, high quality fish and shellfish both caught and farmed. World renowned scallops & langoustine are amongst a wide variety of species landed providing a range from everyday affordable to luxury treat. 

Highland Video

Watch the Highland Seafood Film

Highland seafood recipes

History of Highland's Fishing Industry

Links and contacts to explore

History of Highland's Fishing Industry

The fishing industry runs deep in the veins of Highland communities.  Many towns and villages were built on the success of the rich herring fishing of the 19th century.  The harbours you see today would have been lined with hundreds boats and the quayside busy with herring wives gutting and packing the fish into barrels ready to be shipped around the world.  By the early 1900’s the great shoals of herring had begun to disappear and the number of boats dwindled.  Post war the industry found a resurgence again through the expansion of the whitefish fishery (mainly cod & haddock) but much like the herring this could not be sustained. 

Today’s fishery consists of a large number of small inshore boats setting creels for shellfish including crab, lobster and langoustine, providing much character to the many small harbours found along the coastline. Scallopers and large vivier crabbers can be found working from the bigger ports, and although the whitefish fleet has now the lowest recorded number of vessels their economic contribution and importance to their communities remains great.  The port of Scrabster in the very north east of Highland remains one of the main Scottish landing ports.

Highland offers some fantastic visitor centres where you can find out more about our East Coast fishing heritage

Wick Heritage

Waterline Visitor Cantre & Museum

Dunbeath Heritage Centre

Timespan Museum & Arts Centre

Community Food Fund

The East of Scotland Seafood project is a partnership initiative led by local authorities, business leaders and coastal communities. It is supported by the Community Food Fund, which is financed by The Scottish Government and has been created to promote local food and drink, in line with Scotland's National Food and Drink Policy.