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MSP welcomes new support for fish processors

By David Porter

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A new £10 million pound scheme has been created by the Scottish Government to help seafood processors during the coronavirus pandemic has been welcomed.

As a result of the outbreak, international markets have shut and demand has been greatly reduced as restaurants and cafes across the UK follow government orders to close.

MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson who has fishing communities on the east coast including Peterhead and Fraserburgh in his constituency has welcomed the new Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund.

He said he hoped the new scheme, which provides a combination of grants and loans, will be a boost to seafood businesses fighting for survival and threatening livelihoods in coastal areas.

Mr Stevenson said:“‘This support is crucial to ensuring seafood processing businesses remain solvent through this crisis, fish processors are reliant on buoyant markets, which have clearly collapsed with COVID-19.

“It is important we support them through this difficult period so I am pleased the Scottish Government has established a hardship fund for fish processors.

“They depend on the quality fish and seafood caught by fishermen, particularly those on the west coast, so the hope is that in supporting the fish processors there will also be support for the fish catching sector.”

Figures published daily on the Peterhead Port Authority webpages show that at present only around 10 per cent of the average daily catch is being landed.

A normal day at the market would see anywhere between 4000 to 8000 boxes landed per day, whereas at present that figure is in the region of 400 to 700.

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