SCOTLAND, UK - A fishing hardship fund has awarded £1.9 million to white fish and prawn fishermen from across Scotland.
The cash boost was announced last summer by the Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead. The Scottish Government took this initiative in response to very poor catches of prawns in the North Sea last year which placed fishing businesses under severe pressure. The poor catch rates also diverted effort into the white fish sector putting additional pressure on fishing opportunities.
Funding has been awarded to 113 vessels from across Scotland:
- North East – 59 awards receiving £1,174,605
- North West – 20 awards receiving £278,584
- South East – 19 awards receiving £280,908.18
- South West – 11 awards receiving £121,465
- Orkney and Shetland – 4 awards receiving £70,032
Following consultation with industry representatives, the Government will make payments to vessels that failed in 2013 to achieve a net profit of £17,000. Payments will be made to increase vessels profit to this level, up to a maximum of £24,714, the maximum allowed under the EU’s State Aid rules.
Mr Lochhead said: “The fishing industry is very important to Scotland’s economy and contributed £500 million last year. It is the lifeblood of many local communities supporting over 5,000 costal jobs across Scotland.
“These awards will help those experiencing substantial hardship to remain viable. The money can be used towards the costs of new or repaired sets of gear along with some minor maintenance work or costs in maintaining lifesaving equipment.”
Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said: “This assistance was fought for by the industry and agreed by Scottish Government and we are very pleased to see the hardship scheme becoming a reality. It is specifically targeted at boats with a viable future but who need some short term help in the face of challenges outside anyone’s control - an investment for a sustainable future.”
TheFishSite News Desk