The significant milestone comes at a time of great economic pressure for the Scottish fleet combined with imminent regulatory change on the horizon due to the reform process of the Common Fisheries Policy now being at an advanced stage.
Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive, said: "For the last 40 years the SFF has been at the forefront of representing Scotland’s fishermen at every conceivable political level. It has often been a bumpy ride but at every juncture the determination and resilience of our fishermen has ensured invaluable support for Federation representatives working hard to secure a sustainable and profitable future for Scottish fishing.
"No-one should be in any doubt of the importance of our industry in providing a sustainable food resource that is much valued around the world and which is of huge economic importance to Scotland."
Among the many attendees at the celebration event in St Andrews was First Minister Alex Salmond MSP.
He said: "It is a pleasure to pay tribute to the work of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation in its 40th anniversary year. I have now had 26 years of experience representing north-east constituencies at Westminster and at Holyrood, and I’m well aware of the crucial work done by the Federation throughout all of that time.
"The fishing industry is worth £500 million to the Scottish economy, employing 5,000 on the frontline and a further 5,000 onshore. It is therefore hugely important for one of Scotland’s most significant industrial sectors to have the strong and effective representation that the Federation has offered over the past four decades.
"I wish the Federation and all of its members the very best as they celebrate this terrific milestone and I look forward to many more years of the capable promotion of Scotland’s fishing industry."