A wide range of fishing and aquaculture businesses and marine organisations are set to benefit from Marine Fund Scotland’s latest round of funding.

A total of 60 projects will receive grants ranging from £7,000 to £1.6m, with the emphasis on innovations that will improve efficiency and advance sustainability, minimise carbon emissions and help to support coastal communities.

Mairi Gougeon and Gerald Allison of the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group at its processing facility in Belshill, where the latest round of Marine Fund Scotland grants were announced.

Announcing the recipients of funding during a visit to a shellfish processing facility at Belshill, southeast of Glasgow, rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Marine Fund Scotland has enabled some really exciting projects in the past, and I’m confident that this round of funding will play an important role in continuing to help our marine and fisheries businesses to develop and move to the next level.

“These projects reflect Scotland’s Blue Economy Vision, the first phase of which culminated with the publishing of the report on ‘Delivering Scotland’s Blue Economy Approach’ earlier today.

“The Marine Fund Scotland will continue to be key in supporting sustainable development of Scotland’s Blue Economy – investing in Scotland’s seafood sectors, creating sustainable jobs, and helping to protect Scotland’s marine environment.”

Around a dozen Scottish vessels have been awarded grants to upgrade facilities onboard – with the emphasis on improvements such as lighter gear that will reduce fuel consumption as well as increasing catching efficiency – while a young fisherman in the prawn creel sector has been awarded £50,000 towards the purchase of his first vessel.

Two funded projects will convert vessels to renewable energy propulsion systems, to be developed as case studies that will be shared with the industry.

A number of processors have received grants towards improvements such as the installation of heat pumps, solar panels and more efficient refrigeration equipment to reduce their energy use, while others are being supported to increase local processing capacity.

Several marine litter projects have been awarded grants, and money will also go to a project to establish the first Scotland-based gear recycling facilities.

One of the biggest beneficiaries is Seafood Scotland, which will receive £1.6m towards the cost of developing export markets for Scottish seafood, while other supported projects will focus on increasing local sales.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has received funding to develop its onboard observers scheme and increase industry data collection, while awards to Seafish will support enhanced safety training.

The Marine Fund Scotland was established following the UK’s exit from the EU and replaces the EMFF.

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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