£24 million earmarked for cutting-edge science and fisheries research
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A total of £24 million is to be invested in cutting-edge science and fisheries research as part of the first investment from the £100 million UK Seafood Fund to boost innovation in the fishing industry.
UK Government Minister for Scotland and MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid said: "I know from extensive engagement with the Scottish seafood industry that the £100m UK Seafood Fund has been eagerly anticipated and I welcome the news that the substantial first tranche of funding will boost innovation and all-important sustainability.
"The UK Government has been steadfast in support of an industry pivotal to the wellbeing of coastal communities and we are determined all sectors – catching and processing – should be able to maximise the opportunities now before us. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Scottish seafood and aquaculture sectors to ensure this fresh funding drives the industry to new heights."
Further funding will invest in infrastructure projects to benefit the supply chain, and support skills and training.
Fishing businesses across the UK will now have access to this cash investment to develop technology, trial new gear and support world-class research to improve the productivity and long-term sustainability of the industry.
This comes as the UK industry builds back from the pandemic and benefits from new post Brexit quota arrangements.
The UK fleet now has seen significant increases in quota fish stocks such as mackerel and herring.
The funding released by the Government to support better science and innovation projects is the first part of £100 million UK Seafood Fund designed to level up coastal communities across the UK.
It will ensure industry is able to process more fish landed in the UK, and create more job opportunities across the supply chain.
It will also upskill the workforce and train new entrants, as well as investing in technology to put the UK at the cutting edge of new safe and sustainable fishing methods.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “Over the last nine months, we have taken some important steps in the right direction for our fishing industry.
“We’ve taken our independent seat at the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, we have agreed a quota exchange mechanism, and we have seen an uplift in quota for UK boats.
“Now, this major investment will benefit coastal communities up and down the UK.
"The first investment from our £100M Seafood Fund will boost science and innovation in the fishing industry and, coupled with our Fisheries Act, help us ensure that we have the most sustainable fleet in the world.”
To support industry a Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships scheme has been launched for initial engagement with industry before inviting bids for project funding.
The scheme will fund the gathering of new data to sustainably manage the UK’s fish stocks, research new types of fishing gear to boost sustainable fishing, increase confidence in fisheries science, and increase knowledge of the benefits and impacts of fish farming.
Dr Bryce Stewart, Fisheries Biologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of York, said: "I am particularly delighted to see the launch of this scheme for Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships.
"Our recent research shows that such collaborations are vital for increasing trust and developing more effective and efficient management measures. Ultimately this should lead to more productive fisheries and a healthier marine environment".