Maritime industries in Scotland will receive £14 million per annum from Westminster to replace the £62 million EMFF lost after Brexit
Scottish Rural Secretary Mairi Gougeon told the Scottish Parliament that the maritime industries in Scotland will receive £14 million per annum from Westminster to replace the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) from the EU.
Ms Gougeon said that despite providing evidence to the UK Government for a multi-year allocation for marine funding of £62 million per annum, given that that is what we could have accessed as an EU member, instead Scotland will receive £14 million, in what she terms as a failure “to recognise the value and importance of Scotland’s seas”.
The Rural Secretary was answering question from Karen Adam (SNP) MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast. She initially asked what support is available from the Scottish Government to ensure that more fish caught by Scottish vessels are landed and processed at Scottish ports?
The Rural Affairs and Islands Secretary answered:
“The Scottish Government is due to introduce amended economic link provisions in January 2023 to help to ensure that greater amounts of quota stocks are landed in Scottish ports. We will also be producing a new seafood trade strategy, which will set out our vision to ensure that Scotland has a thriving, sustainable and diverse Scottish seafood industry that revitalises coastal communities.
“Through the marine fund Scotland, £6 million has supported Scottish processing facilities to upgrade their premises and improve automation, to help to enhance the opportunity for Scottish-landed catches to have value added in Scotland.”
Ms Adam replied by asking:
“The Scottish Government has a strong track record of supporting the fishing industry on the Banffshire and Buchan coast, most recently with the additional £1.8 million of funding for ports and harbours, which was announced last year, which benefited Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Macduff.
“However, given that Scotland is entitled to receive at least £62 million annually to replace the European maritime and fisheries fund, can the cabinet secretary tell us what impact Brexit has had on funding for the vital projects and infrastructure that support our fishing communities, such as those in my constituency?”
To which the Ms Gougeon replied:
“The impact of Brexit has been significant, not only because of the losses and dislocation of markets, but also because of the reduction in quota available for Scottish vessels. The member is right in what she has said. Following EU exit, we provided clear evidence to the UK Government for a multi-year allocation for marine funding of £62 million per annum, given that that is what we could have accessed as an EU member. However, instead, the UK Government has allocated only £14 million a year to Scotland. That fails to recognise the value and importance of Scotland’s seas.
“In addition, it appears that the yearly £5.5 million top-up that was previously provided to Scotland on the basis that the EU maritime and fisheries fund allocation was insufficient will not continue. That means that, in real terms, the funding available to support the seafood sectors, enhance the marine environment and improve biodiversity has received a 28 per cent cut compared with that in the previous three years.
“Ultimately, a reduced funding pot means that there is reduced opportunity to realise the benefits for coastal communities, marine businesses and the marine environment in Scotland. However, we will continue to use the limited funding that we have to deliver maximum effect through the marine fund Scotland.”
by Oliver McBride