Post-Brexit funding opened for UK fishing sector

Government funding totaling GBP 15.4 million (USD 19.8 million, EUR 17.9 million) can now be applied for by England’s fishermen and seafood businesses.

The United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said the funds, which were announced last year, are designed to encourage innovation and technology, as well as improving port infrastructure and safety at sea.

“We are taking back control of our waters and establishing the U.K. as an independent coastal state, with a fairer share of fishing opportunities for the whole of the U.K. fleet,” Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said. “We are committed to a thriving fishing and seafood industry, and this funding will support innovation, jobs, safety at sea, and help establish new markets and opportunities as we leave the E.U."

Funds through to March 2022 are open to applicants based in England that:

  • Support innovation in technologies to enhance economic growth, increase energy efficiency, reduce environmental impact and improve fishing safety;
  • Improve port infrastructure so that more fish can be landed in U.K. ports, and help the sector take advantage of new export opportunities after Brexit;
  • Boost coastal communities by providing local benefits
  • Help the sector adjust to new arrangements on access and fishing opportunities by improving capacity and capability to exploit new export opportunities and markets;
  • Improve safety on fishing vessels or on shore by funding safety measures that prevent accidents.

Submissions are to be made through the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

“I would encourage all fishermen to look closely at this new fund to see if it can help their businesses adjust to the new circumstances we will be operating under as the U.K. emerges as an independent coastal state,” said Barrie Deas, chief executive of National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO).

This funding is in addition to the existing European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The U.K. government has already guaranteed that all EMFF projects approved before 31 December 2020 will be fully funded, bringing the total support package available to the country’s fisheries sector from 2016 to 2022 to GBP 320 million (USD 411.5 million, EUR 370.9 million).

U.K. government has also already committed to put in place new, domestic, long-term arrangements to support the UK’s fishing industry from 2021, through the creation of four new schemes comparable with the EMFF to deliver funding for each nation. The Devolved Administrations will each lead on their own schemes.

Meanwhile, E.U. leaders have agreed in principle to extend Brexit until 31 January, 2020, meaning the United Kingdom will not leave as planned on 31 October. E.U. Council President Donald Tusk has called the new arrangement a "flextension," whereby the country could leave before the deadline if a deal is approved by the U.K. Parliament.

Photo courtesy of James Pearce/Shutterstock


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