The UK Government has announced extra support for the seafood industry from early March, with cash grants for seafood and aquaculture businesses in the UK.

The scheme, which is similar to last year’s Fisheries Response Fund set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic, will provide a grant payment to cover up to three months of average business fixed costs. 

It will help catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses with costs such as equipment hire, port fees and insurance.

The UK Government Minister for Scotland, David Duguid, said: “Over the last few months, we have been listening to the seafood industry and have continued to monitor the impacts that the pandemic and export disruption has played on prices, exports and the market.

“I am confident in the quality of Scottish fish and seafood but for many fishing businesses the lack of demand in the hospitality trade in the UK and further afield has had a real impact on market prices.

“While we continue to take steps to beat this virus and work with the sector to resolve export issues - this expanded support scheme will help the many small and medium sized fishing businesses that support so many of our coastal communities,” he added.

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The UK fishing and seafood sector, as a whole, is also set to benefit from a £100m fund from the government to help modernise the fish processing industry and fishing fleets.

The scheme is available to owners of under 40m vessels with fishing licences and who have a track record of fishing in the winter months. 

The Marine Management Organisation will administer the fund across the UK on behalf of Defra, contacting eligible owners directly with instructions on how to apply.