Defra confirmed last week the latest round of funding awarded from the £100m UK Seafood Fund.

Successful bids to the current £20m round include a project building on the growing success of the Cornish sardine fishery, where Falfish has been supported to develop processing facilities for two new ring-netters that are being planned.

The existing dry dock in Shoreham is regularly used by both fishing boats, including visitors from the South West beamer fleet, and a wide variety of workboats.

Other awards go to Denholm Seafoods to expand pelagic processing capacity in Peterhead, to support cold store infrastructure in the Humberside fish processing cluster, and to help modernise a dry dock in Shoreham.

The £20m of funds from the UK Seafood Fund will be matched by £30m of funds provided by the private sector.

As well as announcing the winners from the first round of the infrastructure scheme, Defra confirmed that a further £30m has been made available for infrastructure projects in the next round of funding, for which bidders are invited to apply.

Winning bids in the second round will have until March 2025 to complete the work, and an extended deadline compared to the initial round, which is likely to allow a wider range of projects to apply for funding.

The Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme, part of the UK Seafood Fund, which funds data collection and research to support sustainable fisheries management, will also see a final round of funding opened next month. Fishing News has reported previously on a number of successful FISP projects working with fishermen, for example to develop improved fisheries data in the Shetland ling fishery and better understanding of the lobster stocks off the Yorkshire coast.

Welcoming the financial support for its processing facility in Peterhead, which comes when Scottish pelagic vessels are being required to land a greater proportion of their catch to UK ports, Allan Stephen, director at Denholm Seafoods, said: “We are delighted with the support we have received from Defra, which from the outset has been highly productive.

“Securing the Defra grant will enable Denholm Seafoods to invest in our new freezing and production facilities, which will maintain our high-quality product.”

Shoreham Port is home to a fleet of inshore vessels working a wide variety of static gears, and a fleet of larger scallopers that between them saw landings in the port worth £13.9m in 2021, the third largest in England.

Shoreham is home to a wide array of workboats, service vessels and a dynamic fleet of fishing boats ranging from 8m sole netters to some of the largest scallopers in the UK fleet. Fish landings in 2021 were worth £13.9m.

The port has confirmed it is investing around £710,000 to modernise the existing dry dock. Originally the port’s first lock, constructed in 1850, it was converted to a dry dock in the 1930s when the larger Prince George Lock was built. It is used by a wide array of fishing boats and workboats, and is in high demand, but has been showing its age and needs complete modernisation.

Tom Willis, chief executive at Shoreham Port, said: “We are delighted our application to redevelop the dry dock at Shoreham Port has been successful. An essential facility for vessel owners, it is one of the few remaining in the south of England and is a part of our proud history, serving users since the 1930s.

“When engaging with the fishing community, investment in improving dry dock capability is consistently highlighted as a priority. The redeveloped dock will offer excellent dry maintenance facilities for vessels up to 50m in length, with workshop access and quayside space. Commencing shortly, the project will be completed by early next summer.”

Confirming the funding, Defra fisheries minister Mark Spencer said: “Fishing communities are an important part of the UK’s heritage and they make a valuable contribution to our economy, so we are backing them with funds to boost growth and opportunities across the industry.

“This funding will ensure seafood businesses throughout the supply chain are well-equipped to keep pace with increasing demand at home and abroad, boosting production and sustainability and building a resilient sector for the future.”

Full details of the next round of FISP funding will be announced shortly. Details of ongoing projects, the application process and eligibility are all available via the website, enabling pre- planning for any bids led by smaller industry associations and partnerships.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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