Sea Source NI and Nifpo have welcomed the £1.5m support package. Photo: Oliver McBride

The CEO’s of Northern Ireland’s two fish producers organisations have welcomed the generous £1.5m support package announced by Edwin Poots.

DAERA Fisheries Minister, Edwin Poots made the announcement yesterday after the executive has agreed a support package for the Northern Ireland fishing industry to help it cope with the coronvarius crisis.

The financial scheme has been announced to help prop up the fishing industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, after social distancing measures and the collapse of the European and domestic fish markets, have made trading virtually impossible.

Speaking to the BBC NI, Alan McCulla of Sea Source – Anifpo in Kilkeel described it as a “lifeline to local trawler owners”.

He said it was more generous than similar packages in other parts of the UK.

Many crew will be able to avail of government support for self-employed workers and other assistance.

Harry Wick of the Northern Ireland Fish Producers’ Organisation welcomed the Executive’s support in “what is a challenging time for the local fishing industry”.

Earlier this week, representatives of the industry said a support package was badly needed, as fishing in Northern Ireland had come to a virtual standstill due to the collapse of markets for fish.

In order to qualify for assistance fishing vessels must be registered in Northern Ireland and have had fish landings of at least £10,000 in 2019.

They must also be available to fish if there’s a market for their produce with the authorities stressing that this is not a “tie-up” scheme.

It is expected the first of the payments will be made in May.

 

NI fish producers welcome generous support package for fishing industry

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