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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

SNP Government Supports Scottish Seafood Industry with £22.5 million

The announcement today of a further £3.5 million to help large sea fishing vessels brings the total made available to the seafood industry by the SNP Government to £22.5 million.

This benefits more than 220 Scottish vessels over 12 metres in length. Overall, more than 1,000 fishing and aquaculture businesses are now eligible for funding to help them, their crews and staff through this unprecedented period.

While the four financial support schemes announced so far will help businesses based in coastal and island communities such as Arran, Cumbrae and along the North Ayrshire coast. Key employers around Scotland involved in fish processing and trout farming will also benefit.

The latest scheme will provide capped payments of up to £21,370 per vessel to businesses with a vessel over 12 metres landing shellfish such as crab, lobster, scallop and langoustine to help them meet fixed costs. It will also provide up to £42,740 for businesses operating more than one vessel. Amounts will be graduated by fleet segment and length category.

Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said:

“I have been working closely with the fishing and aquaculture industry since the global COVID-19 outbreak began and listened to calls from businesses who have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight as their markets have shut down in response to vital public health advice.

“We are supporting the unique needs and circumstances of Scotland’s economy, particularly to help safeguard livelihoods in coastal and island communities. This package represents the most comprehensive set of measures to support fishing and fish farming anywhere in the UK.”

Kenneth Gibson MSP added:

“Those with large vessels will welcome this support of up to £21,370 per vessel.

“For full-time Scottish registered vessels of 12 metres length and under, the SNP Government had already put an initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings in place and seafood processors also have access to a £10 million funding package.

“The SNP Government recognises that the seafood sector is important and continues to work with the industry regarding the impact on future sector spend. If you think you may be eligible for any funding, please don’t hesitate to apply now.

“I urge the public to play their part in supporting these key contributors to Scotland’s food success story by buying local seafood and fish if they can.”

Elspeth Macdonald, CEO of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), said:

“We welcome this further tranche of financial support for the Scottish fishing fleet, much of which has been under severe pressure since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our markets, first abroad and then at home. Most of the Scottish shellfish fleet has been tied up for almost a month now, as restrictions and lockdowns mean restaurant, hospitality and foodservice markets around the world that normally enjoy Scottish seafood, have essentially disappeared.

“Fishing businesses are floating businesses, so are not eligible for the Covid Small Business Grants Scheme based on rateable premises. We are grateful to Fergus Ewing and Marine Scotland for having regular dialogue with us, listening to industry, and acting quickly to provide support to the fishing industry and wider seafood sector, on which so many of our coastal communities depend.”

Elaine Whyte, a National Co-ordinator for Communities Inshore Fisheries Alliance, said:

“We sincerely thank the SNP Government for addressing the needs of people who fish for a living, most of whom live in already fragile Scottish coastal communities. The support offered will hopefully help save vulnerable businesses which are the backbone of their villages and towns.”

Information about other schemes is available at:

Over 350 payments totalling £3 million have now been made under the first of these schemes for the seafood fishing industry.

Applications opened for the seafood processing sector scheme on Monday 13 April.


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