Scottish trout, shellfish farmers receive COVID-19 support
Shellfish growers and trout producers in Scotland are to receive a share of E.U./Scottish government funding totaling GBP 800,000 (USD 968,656, EUR 896,657), which has been allocated to help make business improvements that mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The grants from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to 11 aquaculture businesses include nearly GBP 100,000 (USD 121,082, EUR 112,082) for phase two of the expansion of Seaforth Mussels on the Isle of Harris, and around GBP 200,000 (USD 242,174, EUR 224,169) for new specialist trout harvesting equipment at Dawnfresh Seafoods Ltd. in Lanark.
This investment for small aquaculture businesses is in addition to hardship payments of up to GBP 27,000 (USD 32,693, EUR 30,263), which were launched as a direct response to the COVID-19 crisis last month.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the seafood sector with the market for some products disappearing almost overnight, leaving many businesses at risk of financial ruin,” Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said. “This new funding is being awarded to businesses working in rural areas who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic, helping them to strengthen their business and recover from the loss of markets.”
“Aquaculture is an important part of our food and drink success story which we need to preserve. In addition to this EMFF funding, over the last month we have provided hardship funding payments worth more than GBP 340,000 (USD 411,704, EUR 381,143) to 28 eligible shellfish growers and trout farmers,” Ewing added.
The Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers’ Chief Executive Nick Lake said the funding shows the confidence that shellfish businesses and the Scottish government have in the industry’s “continued scope for development” once the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are overcome.
"There is optimism that shellfish cultivation businesses as part of the wider Scottish rural economy will continue to deliver quality shellfish which is held in high regard within both the U.K. and internationally,” Lake said. “By investing at this time for future development of our sector it indicates the Scottish government’s ongoing commitment to sustainable seafood production.”
Of the GBP 800,000 awarded, GBP 600,000 (USD 726,536, EUR 672,605) was provided by the E.U., with the remaining GBP 200,000 (USD 242,174, EUR 224,169) coming from the Scottish government.
As well as GBP 800,000 to aquaculture businesses, phase nine of the EMFF also includes GBP 1.4 million (USD 1.7 million, EUR 1.6 million) for two Marine Scotland Science projects and GBP 58,950 (USD 71,380, EUR 66,084) for a Scottish government project.
To date, Scottish government has already invested GBP 22.5 million (USD 27.2 million, EUR 25.2 million) in the seafood sector in response to the pandemic.
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