The UK government has announced the first instalment of the promised £100 million intended to innovation in the industry, level up coastal communities and support job creation.
Fishing businesses have the opportunity to apply for shares of this initial £24 million to develop technology, trial new gear and support research to improve the productivity and long-term sustainability of the industry.
Details of how to bid for funding for both of these schemes will be announced ‘in due course.’
‘I know from extensive engagement with the Scottish seafood industry that the £100m UK Seafood Fund has been eagerly anticipated and I welcome the news that the substantial first tranche of funding will boost innovation and all-important sustainability,’ said UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid.
‘The UK Government has been steadfast in support of an industry pivotal to the wellbeing of coastal communities and we are determined all sectors – catching and processing – should be able to maximise the opportunities now before us. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Scottish seafood and aquaculture sectors to ensure this fresh funding drives the industry to new heights.’
The overall £100 million funding is divided into an initial Science and Innovation pillar, which the UK government predicts will enable the fishing and seafood industry to work jointly with scientists to research new types of more productive and sustainable fishing gear, gather new data to more sustainably manage the UK’s fish stocks, and trial projects such as new biodegradable packaging for chilled fish and seafood to reduce single-use plastics.
‘I am particularly delighted to see the launch of this scheme for Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships,’ commented Dr Bryce Stewart, Fisheries Biologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of York.
‘Our recent research shows that such collaborations are vital for increasing trust and developing more effective and efficient management measures. Ultimately this should lead to more productive fisheries and a healthier marine environment.’
An infrastructure pillar to be announced later this year aims to facilitate investment in projects to strengthen the supply chain in the UK. Potential uses include funding for the modernisation of ports, logistic hubs, freezing facilities, improvements to processing plants and new fish markets. A further Skills and Training pillar is aimed at supporting career opportunities and upskilling.