SCOTTISH fishing businesses and organisations have received more than £3m in the latest round of government funding.
Marine Fund Scotland (MFS) has so far put around £11m in total across a range of projects, including supporting young fishers to enter the industry, enhancing sustainable aquaculture, protecting the marine environment and supporting Scotland’s coastal communities.
Among the recipients is the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, a Bellshill based co-operative, with farmers involved in every part of the business, producing premium Scottish shellfish for supermarkets, wholesalers and restaurants.
The group received £249,617 towards the £499,235 costs of investment planned for their High-Care department, to further maximise opportunities in the UK multiple retail sector.
Forth Marine also attracted funding of £231,082 towards the construction of a new storage processing distribution facility outside North Berwick for seafood caught in the Firth of Forth by East Lothian fishermen.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “This money is promoting innovation in sustainable practices, allowing businesses to explore new markets and further automate processes to help mitigate staff shortages, and supporting our coastal communities.
“I am delighted for those organisations and individuals whose applications have been successful in this and previous rounds.”
Gougeon added: “The Marine Fund Scotland will continue…investing in Scotland’s seafood sectors, creating sustainable jobs, and helping to protect Scotland’s marine environment.”
The minister claimed this had been achieved while “the UK Government is poised to launch pillars of the UK Seafood Fund”.
This, according to Gougeon, is set to duplicate funding and cause confusion at a time when businesses need less red-tape, not more.
“There is no doubt that Brexit has been a disaster for our marine-related industries,” she said, “and coastal communities and this has been compounded by the impact of the pandemic which saw key markets close almost overnight.”