Three days after the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS) closed to new applications, and just two days after the UK general election was called – only the most cynical FN reader could see this as anything other than a complete coincidence – an extra £2m of funding has been made available for the scheme.

The announcement of the reopening of the scheme was made on Friday, 24 May and took place with immediate effect.

The MMO said: “Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and when all funding has been allocated, the scheme will close again. Please be aware that the application portal may still say ‘closed’ for the next few days – we are in the process of updating it, but you can still submit applications.”

When FN checked just before going to print, the application portal appeared to be fully operational.

Ed Baker, chief executive of Plymouth Fishing and Seafood Association (PFSA), suggested that the welcome announcement might have been partly in response to a plea from the PFSA, Plymouth City Council and ports such as Looe and Polperro. Industry leaders made the case that fishermen needed help to buy items such as boxes and ice machines to help them to cope with the closure of the Plymouth auction, with a host of vessel owners scrambling to cope with the new circumstances they have found themselves in.

FaSS applications submitted before 21 May ‘are still being processed’, the MMO said. Applications received after this date, but before the reopening, may be in some form of limbo – if you suspect you’re in this position, the MMO suggests contacting them on: 0208 026 5539 or emailing: FaSS. queries@marinemanagement.

The same deadline for the completion of funded projects – 31 March, 2025 – will apply to this final round of applications.

Local brand for Plymouth seafood

A FaSS application made by PFSA was approved last week, with funds being provided to support members of the association to increase their direct sales in the city.

A new brand, Seafood Plymouth, will support direct sales through targeted marketing and local events, with the aim of helping both the local fishing fleet and onshore seafood businesses, including merchants, retailers and foodservice outlets in and around Plymouth.

Support to individual traders will include provision of the Seafood Plymouth logo, point of sales support and additional training.

The already established Plymouth Seafood Trail will be given additional support to raise consumer awareness, along with a push on seasonal fish and recipes.

Edward Baker (pictured above with staff Lee (hiding), Charlotte and Rob), CEO of the PFSA, said: “This campaign couldn’t have come at a better time for those operating fish- catching and onshore seafood businesses in and around Plymouth.

“Seafood Plymouth and our ‘Choose Local, Go Wild’ call to action is a much-needed rallying cry to people living locally to do their bit to support the local economy, and have some fun trying out new ways of cooking and preparing food that’s literally on their doorstep.”

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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