Aquaculture for all

Fish Firms on Fast Track to Success

Economics Politics +2 more

UK - Scotland's fisheries sectors received a major lift today with the announcement of 3 million in fisheries grants.

Seventeen projects will share the funding as part of the latest round of European Fisheries Fund (EFF) grants. The new investment will create 48 new jobs and safeguard 300 more in Scotland's fishing, processing and aquaculture sectors. Several of the projects have been fast-tracked as they are time-critical.

Shetland is to receive over £860,000, the Outer Hebrides almost £400,000, the Highlands & Moray over £280,000, and Aberdeenshire over £1.3 million.

Today's announcement brings the total level of EFF investment for the Scottish industry for 2009 to more than £17 million and counting.

New projects include:

  • £1.3 million for Thistle Seafoods Ltd in Peterhead towards a factory extension to meet traceability requirements of its retail customers, will minimise waste packing, and result in an additional 10 full-time positions
  • £50,998 for Gairloch Harbour in Inverness-shire for provision of ice making and storage facilities
  • £16,448 for the Peterhead-based MV Endurance fishing vessel to increase fuel efficiency and increase catch quality

Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead made the announcement today on a visit to the Orkney Fishermen's Society, which recently received £55,000 through the EFF to upgrade its premises and meet increased market demand for brown crabs and lobsters. The factory at Stromness is now the largest processor of brown crabs in the UK.

Five organisations in Orkney have shared funding of £286,000 already this year.

Mr Lochhead said: "Today's investment is a timely boost for our fishing, processing and aquaculture sectors, which together are worth over £1 billion to the Scottish economy.

"The high level of applications being received is further evidence that Scotland is rising to the challenge when it comes to developing innovative solutions and making our fleets more sustainable.

"From modernising vessels in our ports and making them more fuel efficient to strengthening the processing sector, the spin-offs for the wider economy are there for all to see.

"Alongside the significant investment previously announced in the sector we are determined to help them come through the recession even stronger than before."

Tony Scatterty, managing director of Thistle Seafoods, said: "This investment will safeguard all of our existing jobs in Peterhead and create additional employment opportunities. This is good news for one of Scotland's traditional industries and further demonstrates the North East's resilience and ability to weather the prevailing economic downturn.

"The additional capacity will allow us to continue to be at the forefront of seafood processing and continue to work with our customers to drive sales. We are immensely grateful to the Scottish Government for supporting us with this project and for recognising the benefits this will bring to the area."

Stewart Crichton, manager of Orkney Fishermen's Society Ltd, said: "The recent EFF grant award has been a real boost to us. At a time when the economic downturn has had an impact on both sales and prices for high-end shellfish products, we have actually been able to grow our market share and win new business. In a large part this has been due to the new equipment we have installed and the upgrade works we have carried out both to our premises and our processes."

An interim EFF Project Assessment Committee was established in January this year to fast-track early rounds of EFF awards. The first round of awards was announced on February 25, and the second round on 27 April.

Projects eligible for EFF grants include:

  • The development and delivery of professional, safety and specialist skills training
  • Improved management, sustainable exploitation of resources, improved hygiene standards and minimisation of environmental impacts
  • Pilot projects in partnership with scientific or technical bodies
  • Long term profitability in global and local markets to the benefit of producers and consumers
  • Development of new markets and promotional campaigns including on quality, value enhancement and environmental credentials for fisheries and aquaculture products
  • Campaigns to improve the image of fisheries and aquaculture products and image of the fisheries sector implementation of market surveys

Five organisations in Orkney have been awarded funding of £286,000 for six projects since February this year: One fishing vessel (the Arkh Angell) has received two grants totalling almost £10,000 for modernisation. Peirowall Fish Ltd has received an award for almost £90,000 for a fish processing building. Orkney Fishermen's Society Ltd has been awarded two grants totalling almost £112,000 for factory conversions and to develop long-life crab products. Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Ltd has been awarded almost £75,000 for a shellfish assessment and brown crab tagging project.

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