New entrants to fishing will be able to apply for funding towards the purchase of a second hand fishing vessel with support being made available through Marine Fund Scotland (MFS).
Fishermen under the age of 40 able to apply for up to 75% of the purchase of an existing vessel with a registered length of up to 16 metres.
Funding of up to 50% towards the cost of a vessel over 16 metres and up to 24 metres is also available.
MFS is the replacement to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) following the UK’s exit from the EU.
The one-year £14 million fund was launched at the end of April and aims to provide investment in Scottish marine industries and seafood sectors.
‘While we have previously supported young people through the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, Marine Fund Scotland puts more of an emphasis on getting new entrants into the industry and helping those who wish to progress their career and become a vessel owner,’ said Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon.
‘Doing what we can to remove barriers for young people in fishing is crucial so we can boost the resilience of the industry which supports jobs in some of our most rural communities. This is an important part of our Future Fisheries Management Strategy which includes actions to promote fishing as an attractive and safe career of choice.’
The project was welcomed by Duncan MacInnes of the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association.
‘We welcome this opportunity and vision shown by the Scottish Government in assisting younger new entrants into first time vessel ownership, as highlighted in the Future Fisheries Management Strategy,’ he said.
‘This funding will create an environment that will modernise the fleet and will create additional catching opportunities for career and business development for young fishermen living in fragile coastal communities throughout Scotland where alternative employment opportunities are limited.’
He commented that providing funding to young vessels owners is paramount in the future survival of coastal communities that have suffered from depopulation in recent years.
‘Investment in modern vessels will create a much safer working environment for younger owners with modern facilities aboard which will enhance the quality of the catch in providing high quality, sustainable Scottish seafood to an increasing global market,’ Duncan MacInnes added.
‘Further benefits will be generated in ports where vessels land their catch, creating additional onshore employment opportunities by adding value to shellfish and white fish within local processing factories.’
Image: Marine Scotland