Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has welcomed new financial support for seafood businesses that export to the EU as part of “ongoing” UK Government work to support the industry.
Seafood exporters that have been adversely affected by delays in getting their produce to market will receive a share of a £23million fund.
The scheme is targeted at small and medium-sized firms with a maximum claim of £100,000 for individual operators.
Mr Duguid, who is also a Minister in the Scotland Office, has been working closely with industry leaders since the UK-EU trade deal was announced on Christmas Eve.
He said the funding announcement was just the “latest step” in ongoing efforts to back the industry now that the UK has left the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The £23million is in addition to the £100million investment fund already announced by the Prime Minister to help grow, develop and sustain the industry and coastal communities.
The UK-EU agreement returns 25% of the EU’s catch in UK waters (worth £146m) to Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish fishermen, beginning at 15% already this. Additional quota on top of this amount is subject to tri-lateral negotiations between the EU, Norway and now the UK as an independent coastal state. These negotiations, which would normally take place in December, are actively ongoing this month.
Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid said
I have been working with industry representatives and government officials on a day-by-day and sometimes hour-by-hour basis since seafood exports recommenced in the New Year.
I am determined to do everything I can to help the industry through the current challenges as well as the opportunities in the long term as we chart a new course outside of the CFP.
The announcement of this £23million fund is welcome and should provide some reassurance for exporting businesses that have suffered losses, in many cases, through no fault of their own.
But this is just the latest step in ongoing work by the UK Government to support the sector.
I remain in constant touch with industry leaders from both the catching and processing sectors.
We are all working to deal with the immediate issues of course but also looking at opportunities to expand the Scottish seafood sector now that we are free of the CFP.
That includes opening up more global markets for our world-renowned product as well as promotion of increased domestic consumption.