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North-east marine industry projects net £5m

By Kyle Ritchie

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The Scottish Government recently opened its fourth year of the £14 million Marine Fund Scotland for 2024-25.

Applications are welcome until Thursday, May 9 from a wide range of eligible individuals, businesses, organisations and communities to deliver projects which contribute to an innovative and sustainable marine economy.

More than a third (33) of the 91 projects awarded funding in 2023-24 were businesses in the north-east of Scotland, totalling £4.8 million in grants. On an individual basis, these ranged from around £6000 to £1.16 million.

Fraserburgh Harbour has benefitted from £1.16 million from the Marine Fund Scotland.
Fraserburgh Harbour has benefitted from £1.16 million from the Marine Fund Scotland.

Fraserburgh Harbour benefitted from grants to make harbour improvements, including around £1.16 million for North breakwater structural repairs and more than £87,000 on a decarbonising clean up using an all-electric boat and marine litter prevention campaign.

Pamela Neri, harbour development manager for Fraserburgh Harbour said: “We are greatly appreciative of the funding assistance from the Scottish Government, which has provided current infrastructure and future environmental enhancements to the harbour.

“Together with the community we have been working with local schools to educate on the challenge of marine litter, bringing the issue to the wider public and addressing how we tackle it together.”

Robert Gordon University secured around £360,000 for a research and innovation project to develop biotoxin testing for shellfish.

Robert Gordon University applied microbiology professor Christine Edwards said: “Making sure our shellfish is safe to eat is a legal responsibility for all food business in Europe.

“Unlike some other harmful bacteria and viruses which can cause food poisoning, biotoxins are largely resistant to heat so will not be removed through cooking.

“That’s why testing for biotoxins in Scottish shellfish, enjoyed at home and across the globe, is paramount to make sure product containing unsafe levels is not placed on the market.

“CyanoSol research group which includes colleagues from RGU, Scottish Biologics Facility at University of Aberdeen and Lateral DX Ltd continue to work closely with industry partners to develop robust solutions to new field tests for diarrhetic shellfish poison toxins.”

In Aberdeenshire, Trinity Seafoods (formerly Peterhead Whitefish Processors) received more than £360,000 for the purchase and installation of a white fish processing line.

This automated facility provides a solution to the growing problem of manually handling smaller sizes of whitefish species, which is a time consuming and costly process. This will reduce waste and increase utilisation of this important blue food resource.

Richard Duthie, Trinity Seafoods director, said: “It is great to see the Scottish seafood sector collaborating to create this new venture that will benefit fishermen and processers, and ensure best use is made out of sustainably caught whitefish.

“Not only will the new company and equipment offer direct benefits for the fishing and processing sectors, it will boost many support businesses in the supply chain.”

As well as seafood processing, marine research and innovation, and harbour improvements, other projects supported in the north-east last year included fishing vessels, young fishers, commercial fishing and aquaculture.

North-east locations range from Aberdeenshire and Moray to Aberdeen and Angus.

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