Projects in Fraserburgh, Shetland, Portavogie and Grimsby are all set to benefit from the latest round of funding under the UK Seafood Fund Skills and Training Scheme initiative.

The government confirmed on 17 October that £3.8m had been awarded to four projects across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as part of Round 2 of the scheme.

The projects include the creation of a Seafood Centre of Excellence in Fraserburgh, which was awarded £3m. The centre, owned and operated by the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association (SWFPA), will create a high-quality industry facility with ‘purpose-built classrooms, areas for technical training and technology demonstration spaces’.

The government says that as a key component of Fraserburgh’s Regeneration Strategy, the centre of excellence will ‘promote seafood industry career pathways in partnership with Fraserburgh Academy and other schools, strengthening the industry’s links with the community’.

Earlier this year, projects across the North East of Scotland benefited from £6.5m in funding from the UK Seafood Fund.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid described the investment as ‘a huge vote of confidence for the seafood and fishing sector’ in the region. “I’ve been working with the SWFPA and others on this for the last six years, and I’m absolutely delighted to see more UK government fisheries support funding coming to Banff and Buchan.

“The creation of the Scottish Seafood Centre of Excellence in Fraserburgh will be transformational for the industry, helping to attract new entrants to the sector while upskilling the existing workforce.

“This funding will enable the North East to be the heartland for new science, research and technology to be used in fisheries management, which will also help to boost UK seafood exports to new and existing markets across the world.”

The University of the Highlands and Islands Shetland was another beneficiary of the latest funding round, and was awarded £138,411 to upgrade the maritime bridge simulator at the institution’s Scalloway campus.

The upgrade will enable the facilitation of ‘onboard training for entrants and experienced seafarers in a safe environment, improving the efficiency and sustainability of key maritime industries’.

UK government minister for Scotland John Lamont said: “The Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association’s exciting plans for a new seafood centre of excellence and University of the Highlands and Islands Shetland project to upgrade a seafarers’ training simulator will help keep Scotland’s fisheries, seafood and aquaculture sectors world- renowned.”

Just under £451,000 was awarded to the Sea Fish Industry Training Association Northern Ireland to refurbish and extend its training facilities at Portavogie harbour, which will fund the creation of a state of the art training centre and new fire training rig.

Steve Baker, UK government minister for Northern Ireland, described the awarding of the funding as ‘levelling up in action’. “The improvement to training facilities and equipment will help support the organisation’s mission of delivering quality training and advice to the local fishing industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Grimsby-based TEC Partnership was awarded more than £185,000 to refurbish and extend its current facilities in the town to create a new seafood school. The funding will enable several improvements, including refurbishment of existing facilities, along with the provision of new equipment and spaces tailored towards the seafood industry with the aim of developing skills and attracting new entrants.

Announcing the latest round of funding, fisheries minister Mark Spencer said: “Today’s investment will help to support the industry so that our existing and future workforce
is equipped with the necessary skills and facilities to join the sector and benefit from the brilliant opportunities that are available to them with a career in seafood.”

Full details of the projects awarded funding are available 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

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