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North-east to benefit from £75 million boost to modernise the UK fishing industry and level up coastal communities

By David Porter

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Fishing communities across the UK including those in the north-east are set to benefit from better infrastructure, strengthened supply chains, new jobs and an investment in skills thanks to a £75 million boost for the sector announced by UK Government today.

The investment will strengthen the sector’s ability to land more fish in the UK and take them to market faster.

This will be achieved by improving the capacity and efficiency of harbours and processing facilities while boosting the long-term sustainability of the fishing industry and supporting jobs, increasing opportunities for coastal communities and levelling up across the country.

A £65 million infrastructure scheme will be made available for projects such as modernising ports and harbours alongside increasing capacity and efficiency at processing and aquaculture facilities.

A competition will be run to identify the best projects, prioritising those that reduce carbon emissions, helping increase the sustainability of the sector and contributing towards the UK’s commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050.

Up to £10 million will also be used to encourage new entrants into the processing, catching and aquaculture sectors, alongside training and upskilling current workers.

This will be done by offering an improved package of training to people joining the industry and making it easier for people from coastal communities to progress through their career.

The two funding schemes are the second and third parts of the £100 million UK Seafood Fund designed to level up coastal communities across the UK.

This follows the Science and Innovation pillar, announced in September, which is investing in new technology, trialling new gear and supporting world-class research to improve the productivity and long-term sustainability of the industry.

The investment will ensure the industry and coastal communities are equipped to benefit from additional quota gained as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) signed last year with the EU.

Environment Secretary George Eustice
Environment Secretary George Eustice

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: "A year on from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a positive picture is emerging for our fishing industry.

"We are announcing a £65 million infrastructure scheme which will allow us to modernise ports and harbours and increase capacity and efficiency at processing facilities.

"A £10 million fund will encourage new entrants into the processing, catching and aquaculture sectors, and train and upskill those in the industry.

"We are committed to levelling up coastal communities across the UK, and this marks a period of rejuvenation for our fishing industry.

"Sustainability is an important aspect of both schemes.

" The Infrastructure pillar will invest in the transition to renewable energy.

"Examples could include the electrification of UK ports to accommodate docking of electric or hybrid powered ships as well as increasing use of solar panels.

"Port electrification has already proven effective in cutting fossil fuel consumption and reducing emissions produced by the fishing industry.

"The transition of the UK seafood industry to more sustainable practices and a greater use of renewable sources will drive down energy costs, protect fish stocks in the future and improve sales as well as building on the UK’s reputation as a global leader in action to protect the environment.

"Supporting the long-term future of the fishing sector, fishers will also be trained in more sustainable fishing techniques.

"This will help businesses work alongside offshore wind developments and existing Marine Protected Areas.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: "We want to guarantee our fishing industry has a bright future and today’s allocation of funding is a great step forward.

"From upgrading ports and improving processing facilities to boosting training and encouraging recruitment, it all brings a massive boost for the industry.

"Our engagement with Scotland’s fish and seafood sector is ongoing.

"We are listening to concerns and we are acting upon them for the benefit of business owners, workers and Scotland’s wider coastal communities.

"This funding will be felt throughout the country as we support improvements to the UK supply chain by helping establish greater coordination between regions and nations of the UK. "

Banff and Buchan MP Mr Duguid said “levelling up” the local industry will be needed to take advantage of the quota uplift obtained as part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) signed last year with the EU.

After leaving the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), there have been uplifts in quota for UK vessels, with the value of UK-EU fishing opportunities for the UK in 2021 totalling approximately £333 million.

MP for Banff and Buchan, David Duguid said: “We have seen a range of benefits and improvements to the industry since we finally left the CFP a year ago.

“The TCA and the recent deals with Norway and the EU – as well as the establishment of a quota exchange mechanism – mean more lucrative catches going to Peterhead and Fraserburgh and around the north-east.

“This latest tranche of UK Government funding will help provide updated and more efficient methods of working.

"More fish will need to be landed faster, processed and taken to market as quickly as possible.

“This is a massive boost for the local industry and firmly shows that the UK Government has our fishermen at the heart of its levelling up agenda.”

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