Scottish inshore fishermen who usually target shellfish are now be able to diversify into new markets and access fishing opportunities worth up to £2 million.
The package aimed at helping the industry during the coronavirus (COVID-19), means that Scottish vessels will be able to access additional fish quotas around the North Sea and west coast of Scotland.
This extra quota includes an additional 800 tonnes of mackerel – 500 tonnes in the North Sea and 300 tonnes in the west coast – and and additional demersal quotas including haddock, anglerfish, whiting, pollack, saithe, ling, lemon sole and skates and rays for the North Sea and west of Scotland.
‘Fishing in our inshore waters for shellfish is a longstanding and lucrative part of our wider fishing industry but the loss of markets practically overnight due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many businesses tying up their vessels,’ said Scotland’s Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing.
‘With continued uncertainty regarding future market access and demand, this additional £2 million of potential fishing opportunities will provide scope for some vessels to diversify, and help families and businesses in our coastal communities. It also has the potential to ensure that more people in the UK get to enjoy locally and sustainably caught fish from our waters and I hope retailers will play their part in making that happen.’
He commented that Scotland’s seafood fishing sector has been one of the hardest hit due to the collapse of the international shellfish market, causing significant challenges for families, businesses and local communities in some of the most remote rural and island communities.
This additional quota support applies to fishing vessels that are not members of a producer organisation and is not restricted by vessel length.
‘This support is in addition to the £22.5 million that has already been made available by the Scottish Government to the seafood industry, and which was already the largest support package in the UK,’ he added.