GBP 100 million UK Seafood Fund extended through 2025

Several boats tied up to a wharf in a harbor in the United Kingdom.

The U.K. government announced on 3 August it is extending the life of the U.K. Seafood Fund from 2024 until 31 March, 2025.

The U.K. Seafood Fund is a GBP 100 million (USD 121 million, EUR 119 million) fund established to “support the long-term future and sustainability of the U.K. fisheries and seafood sector,” according to the government. Managed by the U.K. Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, the money in the fund is divvied out between four different funding areas: science and innovation, infrastructure, skills and training, and exports support.

“Our world-class fishing and seafood sectors are packed full of expertise and innovation, and the U.K. Seafood Fund is making sure these excellent schemes have the financial backing needed to succeed,” U.K. Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said. “We are already seeing tangible results – from LED lights in fishing nets to attract target species and deter bycatch through to novel whelk pot designs.”

The U.K. also announced it has awarded funding for projects to help minimize the environmental impact of lost fishing nets, and new research on trawl designs to reduce bycatch, via the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) – a part of the overall seafood fund.

So far, according to the department, over GBP 4 million (USD 4.8 million, EUR 4.7 million) has been made available to fund projects under the funding scheme, and a new round of funding awards of up to GBP 1 million (USD 1.21 million, EUR 1.19 million) has been made available for the FISP as of 3 August.

The FISP scheme was launched in 2021, and has allocated GBP 1.4 million (USD 1.7 million, EUR 1.6 million) to tech-based projects – such as a SafetyNet Technology project exploring new types of fishing nets that use LED lights to deter bycatch.

Successful bidders for the latest round of funding include:

  • CEFAS, which plans to work with a group of fishermen in the Farn Deeps nephrops trawl fishery off the northeast coast of England, to test new types of trawl designs to minimize unwanted catch.
  • The Holderness Fishing Industry Group, which has partnered with the University of Hull to identify practices that will reduce the impact of lost shellfish fishing gear and assess hidden costs to the industry and individuals.
  • Bangor University, which plans to research the impacts of towed gear on blue carbon in seabed sediments.

Other programs also recently gained funding from the government via the fund. The U.K. Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF), which is now a part of FISP and the wider U.K. Seafood Fund, has awarded further GBP 1.29 million (USD 1.56 million, EUR 1.54 million) to 28 new projects, SIF announced.

The funding was awarded in chunks of between GBP 13,600 and GBP 50,000 (USD 16,518 and USD 60,730, EUR 16,252 and EUR 59,753) to support “cutting-edge ideas” to improve the sustainability of U.K. fishing.

“SIF has enabled all sorts of innovations from right across Great Britain, looking to boost the U.K.’s blue foods, from prawns to trout, seaweed to salmon,” SIF Steering Group Member Heather Jones said. “The fund supports sustainable food production, with projects ranging from proving novel feed ingredients for farmed fish, to repurposing waste from shellfish production, to using renewable energy to run fish farms. I am excited to see what benefits are realized from the feasibility projects we have funded.”

Projects being funded include five on sustainability, eight on aquaculture, and seven on seafood processing and the supply chain. The remaining projects, SIF said, are “exploring innovative approaches to topics such as humane slaughter, challenges in the underdeveloped seaweed market, and improvements in vessel stability.”

The funding pool, Prentis said, is all a part of ensuring the success of the U.K. seafood industry.

“I want our fishing industry to thrive, to be more sustainable and to invest in the people who will make it a success for decades ahead – so I encourage everyone to bring forward their pioneering ideas,” Prentis said.  

Photo courtesy of M Barratt/Shutterstock


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