More than £3 million awarded
The latest round of funding awards from Marine Fund Scotland (MFS) has seen fishing businesses and marine organisations in coastal communities receive more than £3 million.
Around £11 million has been awarded to date across a range of projects, including supporting young fishers to enter the sea fisheries 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.
“The Marine Fund Scotland will continue to be key in supporting sustainable development of Scotland’s Blue Economy – investing in Scotland’s seafood sectors, creating sustainable jobs, and helping to protect Scotland's marine environment.
“We have achieved all of this while the UK Government is poised to launch pillars of the UK Seafood Fund, which 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 and coastal communities and this has been compounded by the impact of the pandemic which saw key markets close almost overnight.”
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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.