The Government has announced enhanced financial support for the seafood industry with cash grants for seafood and aquaculture businesses across the UK.
In January, the Government made available £23 million for seafood exporters that suffered a financial loss because of delays related to the export of fresh or live fish and shellfish to the EU during January 2021.
Having listened to concerns from fishing businesses across the UK, Defra will now be expanding the eligibility criteria to target catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses which have been affected by a reduction in demand from the hospitality sector in the UK and abroad, as well as disruption of exports to the EU. These expanded criteria will mean more businesses can get the support they need.
The scheme, which is similar to last year’s Fisheries Response Fund set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic, will open in early March and provide a grant payment to cover up to three months of average business fixed costs incurred between January and March 2021. It will help catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses with costs such as insurance, equipment hire and port fees.
Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay commented:
“I have been working with Mid-Cornwall fishing communities and the Government to ensure that these vital industries are supported through this difficult time.”
“I am pleased to see the Government has listened and expanded its Seafood Response Fund to better support those impacted by both the export difficulties and the particular issues that the closure of our hospitality sector during lockdown has caused our domestic market.”
“I will continue to make the case for more support for our fishermen and shellfish businesses during the immediate future, while I am confident the Secretary of State for the Environment and his team will be working hard to resolve the export issues in a way that will benefit all.”
Commenting, Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
“Our fishermen are at the heart of many of our coastal communities and we recognise the impact of coronavirus and the end of the transition period on them. This expansion of our £23 million support package will ensure many more businesses can benefit from government support.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of critical markets, and this has been exacerbated by issues faced by exporters at the border. We will continue to ensure we are listening to our fishing and seafood industry as we work to resolve these issues, and work with them to build up the industry in the months and years ahead.”