Scotland’s seafood sector shares £800,000 in grants

The seafood sector is vital to Scotland's economy, says Fergus Ewing MSP

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Shellfish growers and trout producers will receive a share of £800,000 of funding to continue with important projects in the wake of COVID-19.

The grants are from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and will go to 11 aquaculture businesses across Scotland.

The fund consists of a £600,000 contribution from the EU and £200,000 from the Scottish Government.

The grants will help ongoing projects including £370,000 to Kames Fish Farming Ltd of Loch Pooltiel, Skye; £98,758 to Seaforth Mussels Ltd on the Isle of Harris; and £13,925 to the Sound of Luing Bivalve Seafarm Ltd.

A total of £12,942 has also gone to help projects by Isle of Mull Oysters Ltd; and £12,800 to Tobermory Oysters, Mull.

The investment for small aquaculture businesses is in addition to hardship payments of up to £27,000, said the Scottish Government.

Fergus Ewing MSP, rural economy secretary, said coronavirus had dealt a ‘devastating impact’ on Scotland’s seafood sector.

The markets for some products had disappeared almost overnight and left many businesses at risk of financial ruin, he said.

‘This new funding is being awarded to businesses working in rural areas who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic, helping them to strengthen their business and recover from the loss of markets,’ said Mr Ewing.

‘Aquaculture is an important part of our food and drink success story which we need to preserve.

‘In addition to this EMFF funding, over the last month we have provided hardship funding payments worth more than £340,000 to 28 eligible shellfish growers and trout farmers.’

Dr Nick Lake, chief executive of the association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, said the grants showed the ‘continued confidence’ the Scottish Government had in shellfish businesses.

‘There is optimism that shellfish cultivation businesses, as part of the wider Scottish rural economy, will continue to deliver quality shellfish which is held in high regard within both the UK and internationally,’ said Mr Lake.