Financial Support for Fishing and Coastal Businesses #Covid19 #Coronavirus

crabSupport for Fishing Vessels Over 12m

Fishing vessels over 12m  registered and licensed in Scotland are to be supported by Scottish Government funding.

More than 220 Scottish vessels are eligible for the funding which is a combination of UK and Scottish Government money.

The vessels involved are required to have made a minimum of £20,000 landings in 2019. The payments are capped at £21,370 per vessel  to help meet fixed costs .

Elspeth Macdonald, CEO of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), said:

“We welcome this further tranche of financial support for the Scottish fishing fleet, much of which has been under severe pressure since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our markets, first abroad and then at home.

“Most of the Scottish shellfish fleet has been tied up for almost a month now, as restrictions and lockdowns mean restaurant, hospitality and foodservice markets around the world that normally enjoy Scottish seafood, have essentially disappeared.

“Fishing businesses are floating businesses, so are not eligible for the Covid Small Business Grants Scheme based on rateable premises.

“We are grateful to Fergus Ewing and Marine Scotland for having regular dialogue with us, listening to industry, and acting quickly to provide support to the fishing industry and wider seafood sector, on which so many of our coastal communities depend.”

Support for Fishing Vessels Under 12m

Funding is available to 650 fishing companies with vessels under 12m. The payments amount to  50% of two months’ average earnings  and will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels.

Fergus EwingFisheries Secretary in the Scottish Government, Fergus Ewing said:

“Scottish Government officials are working as hard as possible to get this money out of the door as fast as we can.

“We recognise that more needs to be done, particularly to try and create some alternative markets – at least in the short-term.

“I will be discussing with retailers how that might be achieved, and I would also encourage the public to play their part by buying Scottish seafood if they can.

“By working together we can all play a part in securing the immediate future of some of the key contributors to Scotland’s food and drink success.” Support for the Scottish Fishing Industry: #COVID-19 #Coronavirus

Support for Aquaculture

Scottish Government funding is also available of up to  £27,000 for shellfish growing and trout farming. The Aquaculture Hardship Fund will support businesses that are full time and which have suffered due to the restrictions imposed to manage the Covid19 pandemic.

The grants will cover 2 months and amount to 50% of the average monthly sales revenue.

Dr Nick Lake, Chief Executive of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers  said:

“The coronavirus emergency has seen the hospitality and restaurant markets for cultivated shellfish immediately curtailed and this targeted response by the Scottish Government will help shellfish growers maintain farm sites for oyster and mussel production.

“The spring months are vital for maintenance of stock and the collection of wild mussel seed to sustain future years production and it is paramount this work is able to be safely undertaken with experienced staff retained by businesses.

“Financial support at this critical point should ensure shellfish cultivation businesses are able to continue to deliver high quality shellfish to the markets as soon as conditions improve.”

Support for Seafood Processors

A total  of £10million of assistance has been made available to seafood processors by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund is a combination of grants and loans.

Donna Fordyce, Interim Head of Seafood Scotland said:

“Following the Scottish Government’s recent announcement of financial aid for the fishing sector, this package of support for the wider seafood industry is critical to its survival, and very much welcome. We have spent the last two weeks speaking to seafood businesses all over Scotland, and these measures are just what they have been asking for.

“The sector is one of the most fragile areas of Scotland’s economy, yet delivers so much in terms of employment and export effort. With most export routes almost entirely closed off and around 80% of shellfish and seafood normally destined for international markets, the industry is currently on its knees but this package will help many seafood businesses live beyond the impact of COVID-19.”

Support for Businesses in Coastal Communities

Coastal Businesses will  benefit from revenue from the Scottish Crown Estate which would normally go into community benefit. Local councils will be assigning this fund which is aimed at supporting businesses, including Third Sector organisations.

Councillor Steven Heddle, COSLA’S Environment and Economy spokesperson, said:

“Councils play a key role in supporting local businesses and their coastal communities, especially in these exceptionally challenging times, and that there is scope for funding from Crown Estate net revenues to contribute to this.

“I also welcome the Scottish Government’s intention to ensure that the next tranche of funding is distributed as swiftly as possible to local authorities this year as joint work progresses on the longer-term review to develop an appropriate approach for the future distribution methodology.”

Stromness from the Pier Arts Centre B Bell

Credit: Bell

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