Fishing (alongside trade) was the mainstay of the local economy for centuries, and grew in size and importance with the harbour developments in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fishing began to decline in the area from the late 1960s, as larger and more powerful local seiners started fishing out of ports such as Peterhead, Oban and Lochinver. This gradually reduced the local fleet fishing out of and landing in Lossiemouth. By the 1980s
very little boats fished from Lossiemouth, however, there was still a healthy Lossie fishing fleet fishing from Peterhead and the West Coast. European legislation and the introduction of fishing quotas took its toll and two rounds of decommissioning wiped out most of the remainder of the fleet. Today there are only four local boats, who mostly fish from Peterhead and only around 40 local people are employed in the fishing industry.
A large quarry on the east of the town provided much of the yellow and grey sandstone used in the building of the town and harbours, as well as employment in the area in the 18th and 19th centuries. It has been closed for many years and is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest, due to unique fossils within its rocks.
Royal Air Force Lossiemouth was built during 1938 and 1939 with No. 15 Flying Training School forming in April 1939. The first aircraft to use Lossiemouth regularly were Oxfords and Harvards but, due to the location and good weather, many different types of aircraft were frequently diverted to the station and it
has remained in continual use since its inception. Today RAF Lossiemouth is one of the RAF’s biggest bases and the only operational RAF base in Scotland. It provides vital employment locally, accounting for 3,370 full time equivalent jobs in 2010, 10% of the total Moray workforce. 1,450 of these jobs were civilian. Most of these employees are located in Lossiemouth, and the base contributes a total of £90 million to the local
Lossiemouth’s position, its natural environment and climate continue to make it a popular tourist destination and the town has several hotels and bed & breakfast establishments. It is also popular with golfers; Moray Golf Club was established here in 1889 and operates two golf courses along the coast.
The town’s proximity to Elgin (six miles) means many of the residents commute to work. Elgin is the administrative centre for Morayshire and Moray Council, and the Council, as well as the service, retail and food and drink industries, provide employment within commuting distance.
The recession, local authority cuts and threats to the RAF contributed to some local shops and other businesses closing in recent years. This includes the loss of three of the four local banks, the most recent being the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2015.
Several local businesses are members of the Lossiemouth Business Association.