New grant scheme to support seafood businesses in England to sell catches

The government has opened for applications a new Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme, which will fund projects that will help seafood businesses in England increase the supply of local seafood to domestic markets.

The £1 million scheme, first announced by Defra and HM Treasury on 17 April, is part of a £10 million fund for England’s fishing and aquaculture sectors that have been adversely impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will accept applications for projects that support domestic sales of locally-caught fish and shellfish from Wednesday 29 April to Monday 11 May.

Projects will be assessed by a panel including industry representatives. Successful applications will be announced from Friday 15 May.

The scheme will fund measures that assist the industry to set up local and regional distribution such as plant and equipment to help with local fish processing, or assets that can be shared at port such as storage and refrigerated vans.

Commenting, Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay said:

“I have been in touch with local fishermen and aquaculture businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the collapse of traditional markets.

“I have fed their concerns back to Ministerial colleagues and am pleased to see the detail emerge on the earlier announcements around support for this vital sector.”

“With the loss of traditional markets in the hospitality sector, fishermen are already diversifying by finding ways to promote and sell their catch locally and this fund will encourage and support creativity and innovation to allow them to continue their vital work through this crisis and beyond.”

Commenting, Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis said:

“This new grant scheme, part of a £10 million lifeline for our fisheries sector, will help our fishing industry find new markets for their catch during this challenging time which has seen falling prices and a downturn in restaurant and export sales.”

“With growing demand for meals at home we are also looking for innovative ways to help fishermen adapt and be equipped to sell direct to local consumers.”

Applications are invited from groups of businesses in the fishing, aquaculture and fish processing industries or individual businesses engaged in activities which support the seafood supply chain.

Projects are invited that:

  • Maintain the availability of fisheries products through innovative regional distribution.
  • Support the development of infrastructure to sell fish landed into English ports, or fish processed in England, to domestic consumers.
  • Help develop the infrastructure necessary for the catching and processing sectors to connect directly with consumers (e.g. either through online platforms or through facilitation on the ground).
  • Have the potential to generate longer-term sustainable benefit to the seafood industry, creating supply chain resilience