Fishing today comprises varied sectors, from deep-sea to inshore waters, to aquaculture and the processing operations required to deliver world-class produce to UK homes and to global customers.

This Government is crystal clear that the industry is a key sector, one intrinsic to the well-being of our coastal communities. And it is an industry with a great future.

To ensure the opportunities afforded by Britain now being an independent coastal state are maximised, we pledged to create the £100m UK Seafood Fund to level up communities and encourage job creation across the UK, boosting science, infrastructure and skills.

I am delighted that, after a huge amount of painstaking work, the wraps are coming off the first of the Fund’s three pillars.

Pillar one introduces £24m to back state-of-the-art science and research for UK fisheries. This is essential to ensure precise work with scientists so we can sustainably manage precious stocks.

READ MORE: £24m fishing fund launched to help make industry more sustainable

The other two core elements of the fund will be unveiled later in the year. The infrastructure pillar will support projects to enhance the supply chain in the UK while the third – skills and training – will develop career opportunities and upskill the workforce.

After an initial engagement period which starts today, we will invite bids for project funding that will enable industry and scientists to join together to shape research under the auspices of Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP).

The work is both exciting and essential. We hope to gather new data to manage, in a sustainable manner, the UK’s fish stocks; research new types of gear to boost responsible fishing; increase confidence in the science around seafood; and increase knowledge of the benefits, and impacts, of fish farming.

The UK Government is reinforcing the success of an industry which has repeatedly demonstrated that it can advance and innovate. It is already climate-smart and, in these days where we all must cherish the environment, is producing nutritious and protein-rich food with a carbon footprint that compares well with meat and vegetables.

We want to see all aspects of the industry in Scotland thrive and the arrival of the UK Seafood Fund provides the essentials to raise fishing – catching and processing – and aquaculture to new heights.

Hand in hand with the industry, we can ensure future generations will enjoy seafood, whether that be haddock filleted by a fishmonger, a supermarket-sourced frozen ready-meal, or even the sort of fish supper our wartime forebears would recognise.

The £100m Fund is also a signal to coastal communities that we intend to ensure the sea will continue to offer viable employment for decades ahead.

- David Duguid MP is the UK Government Minister for Scotland