The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee is to hold an inquiry into the new UK Seafood Fund.
The purpose of the inquiry by the cross-party select committee is to evaluate how effectively the UK Seafood Fund will meet its stated objectives, and how well the government is delivering on the promises it has made to the fishing industry. The inquiry is intended to influence the implementation of the fund to maximise its effectiveness.
The £100m fund, which was set up following a commitment made by prime minister Boris Johnson in December 2020, is in addition to other UK funding that has replaced EU funding for the sector following Brexit.
The government has said that the objectives of the UK Seafood Fund are to:
- Reform and modernise infrastructure in order to ‘level up’ and bring economic growth to coastal communities
- Ensure the best science, research and technology is used in fisheries management
- Encourage new entrants to the industry, while upskilling current members
- Enable an environmentally sustainable fishing industry.
There will be three funding streams within the UK Seafood Fund: Science and Innovation; Infrastructure; and Skills and Training. There will also be a £1m fund to support access to external markets.
Among the issues the EFRA inquiry will look at will be:
- How the Seafood Fund will meet the prime minister’s commitment to modernise fishing fleets and the fish processing industry
- Whether the fund will promote economic growth in coastal communities
- What science and innovation development the fund should prioritise
- How the fund should be used to improve the environmental sustainability of the fishing industry.
The committee is inviting written evidence about the UK Seafood Fund from people engaged in the fishing and seafood sector, those living in or representing coastal communities, expert commentators, and others. The closing date for submissions is 10 May.
Other information will be sought by the committee by inviting witnesses to its oral evidence sessions. In general, most evidence sessions are held in public, are announced in advance and can be watched on: parliamentlive.tv
For more information about the inquiry, or to submit evidence, click here.
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.