Scottish fishing and marine businesses have been awarded funding to mitigate the impacts of Brexit and help recover from effects of COVID-19

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform, and Islands, Mairi Gougeon has announced that Scotland’s marine and fishing businesses will benefit from £14 million in grants

Businesses and marine organisations in Scotland’s coastal communities will benefit from £14 million in grants from the Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24.

The funds will facilitate 91 projects, spanning a range of initiatives aimed at promoting innovation, sustainability, and reducing carbon emissions within the marine economy.

Grants, ranging from just under £1,000 to a substantial £1.6 million, will empower diverse projects with a focus on enhancing the marine sector. Among the notable initiatives are:

  1. Modernising Seafood Processing Facilities: Some grants will be directed towards upgrading seafood processing facilities, aiming to reduce energy consumption and enhance operational efficiency.
  2. Harbour Improvements and Decarbonisation: Projects targeting harbour improvements, coupled with community clean-ups and efforts to prevent marine litter, will contribute to the broader goal of decarbonisation in coastal areas.
  3. Marine Research for Wildlife Protection: The funds will support new marine research initiatives, utilising the latest technology and data to protect wild salmon and manage non-native invasive species.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform, and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, expressed enthusiasm about the diverse range of projects being supported. Gougeon highlighted that these initiatives play a crucial role in driving innovation, supporting coastal communities, and aligning with Scotland’s Blue Economy Vision.

The Minister stated:

“The successful organisations and individuals are helping to drive innovation in the marine sector and support coastal communities and I am pleased to confirm such a wide variety of recipients.

“Now in its third year, Marine Fund Scotland has enabled a range of exciting and pioneering projects designed to support our marine ecosystem, improve economic prosperity and enhance social inclusion, all key pillars of our Blue Economy Vision.

“We are committed to maintaining the full allocation for Marine Fund Scotland but an independent Scotland, within the EU receiving pre-Brexit levels of funding, could much better support our seafood and marine industries. It is time that the UK Government provided the sector with their equitable – and rightful – share of funding so that projects like these can continue long into the future. We will continue to press them to do so.”

Harbours from Wick to Eyemouth, including Fraserburgh Harbour, home to the Moray East Offshore Windfarm Marine Base, have received a share of the funding. Fraserburgh Harbour, specifically, obtained nearly £1.2 million for harbour wall improvements and a marine litter project.

Pamela Neri, Harbour Development Manager at Fraserburgh Harbour, expressed gratitude for the grant assistance, saying:

“We are grateful for the recent grant assistance from the Scottish Government’s Marine Fund Scotland which plays a significant role in our ongoing development.

“In light of the continual run of recent storms, the award allows us to undertake structural repairs to the Harbour’s breakwater. This protects our harbour from aggressive sea conditions, increases our resilience, and safeguards our operations to the benefit of our fishing industry, local community and harbourside businesses.

“The additional funding to enable the purchase of a trash skimmer has allowed us to tackle water pollution and reduce the Harbour’s impact on the environment.”

The Marine Fund Scotland, aligning with the Scottish Government’s Blue Economy Vision, replaces funding previously available through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) following the UK’s exit from the EU. The diverse range of projects receiving support underscores the commitment to building a sustainable and thriving marine sector in Scotland.

The Marine Fund Scotland for 2023-24 is a manifestation of the Scottish Government’s Blue Economy Vision published in 2022. The fund replaces previous support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) post-Brexit. Some of the supported projects include Seafood Scotland’s £1.6 million initiative to promote Scottish seafood and Vonin Scotland Ltd’s £955,000 project to establish a net washing facility at Kyleakin, saving 300 nets annually from landfill/incineration. Additionally, Robert Gordon University received £358,000 for an innovative project creating new field tests for shellfish.

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