The government has made a £10 million fund available for England’s fishing and aquaculture fishing businesses affected by coronavirus.
Announced by Environment Secretary George Eustice and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay, the scheme will support more than 1,000 fishing and aquaculture businesses in England via direct cash grants.
Up to £9 million will be available for grants to eligible fishing and aquaculture businesses, while a further £1 million will be made available to support projects to assist fishermen to sell their catch in their local communities.
This money will help fishing businesses find new ways to market and sell their catch while traditional markets are restricted, not only supporting the sector but also the local communities that depend on the industry.
Because the majority of fish they catch is usually destined for export, the English fishing fleet which catches fish stocks such as hake, scallops and crab, has been hit by the closure of traditional export markets and the reduction in demand from the hospitality sector.
Running for up to three months, the support scheme takes action to meet the immediate needs of the industry by helping English fishing and aquaculture businesses with their fixed costs such as such as insurance, equipment hire and port costs.
The measures will support English industry, in particular smaller fisherman, during this challenging time and follow an unprecedented package of financial support already announced for small businesses.
“This £10 million scheme will provide a lifeline for more than 1,000 fishing businesses so they can continue to maintain and operate their boats during this challenging time, which has seen falling prices and lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry,” said Mr Eustice.
“We are continuing to work closely with the fishing and aquaculture industry to ensure that they are supported and can get back to their vital role of providing fish for the table while contributing to the economy of many of our coastal communities.”