Seafood businesses and marine organisations in Scotland’s coastal communities are set to benefit from a new year of funding through Marine Fund Scotland.
A total of up to £14 million of funding will be available in 2023/24 to encourage the sustainable use of marine resources for economic growth, support livelihoods and jobs whilst preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystem.
In the past, projects benefitting from the fund included modernisation of a salmon and trout processing facility in order to reduce energy and water use, installation of solar panels at a seafood cold store to cut back on its carbon footprint, and process capacity building for a shellfish producer to meet the growing demand from premium markets in the US and Asia.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:
“Marine Fund Scotland has been crucial in supporting marine businesses and projects over the past two years. I look forward to many more exciting and innovative initiatives benefiting from it over this coming year.
“Our seas and coasts support vital jobs across our economy, especially in coastal and island communities. The last few years have been incredibly challenging for the sector with Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis all having an impact.
“This fund continues to be key in supporting the sustainable development of Scotland’s blue economy and will play an important role in enabling our marine and fisheries businesses to grow.”
Donna Fordyce Chief Executive of Seafood Scotland said:
“The Marine Fund Scotland has been crucial in the promotion of Scottish Seafood in both developing new markets for the premium seafood we produce, but also in retaining existing markets.
“This is particularly so given the impacts of the last few years with Brexit and the Covid pandemic. We are now also in the midst of a costs of living crisis, which requires continuing effort to ensure that the quality and affordability of Scottish seafood is recognised.”
Applications for funding can be submitted via a new web portal which will be live from 10 am on from 11 April 2023. The application and scheme guidance will be updated ahead of that date for the 2023-24 scheme.
Marine Fund Scotland was established following the UK’s exit from the EU and replaces funding for the fishing and seafood sector previously available through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
The 2023-24 Marine Fund Scotland delivers on the Scottish Government’s Blue Economy Vision which was published in 2022.
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The Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups (RIFGs) aim to improve the management of inshore fisheries in the 0-6 nautical mile zone of Scottish waters, and to give commercial inshore fishermen a strong voice in wider marine management developments.