Funding to boost the UK’s fishing industry through projects to upgrade infrastructure and revive local wharves was announced today as the latest round of investment opens for bids from the £100m UK-wide Seafood Fund to modernize the sector.
Winning projects set to receive a share of £20m include expansion of processing facilities for popular UK fish like Scottish salmon and Cornish sardines, as well as money to bring an aging dry dock back to life .
The UK Seafood Fund is a landmark government investment supporting the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fishing and seafood industry, with the infrastructure component of the Fund helping to pay for improvements to ports, facilities processing and aquaculture so that they can meet future demand. while stimulating employment and economic growth.
As well as announcing the winners of the first round of this scheme, the government also confirmed today that a further £30million will be made available for infrastructure projects as the final round of funding opens for tenders.
The infrastructure program also helps businesses become more environmentally sustainable, with first-round successful bidders investing in greener technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to more reusable materials. .
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:
Fishing communities are an important part of the UK’s heritage and they make a valuable contribution to our economy, so we’re supporting them with funds to drive growth and opportunity in the industry.
This funding will ensure that seafood companies throughout the supply chain are well equipped to keep pace with growing demand at home and abroad, boosting production and sustainability and building a resilient sector for the future.
Successful bidders from the first round of infrastructure funding will receive a £20m share from the government, matched by nearly £50m of investment from private sources. They understand:
- HSH Coldstores which is investing in a cold store and logistics facility to further develop seafood processing in Grimsby and create new jobs in the area;
- the Scottish company Denholm Seafoods which will install equipment to increase the production of mackerel and herring landed at Peterhead;
- Cornish-based Falfish, which will invest in new technology to grade, freeze and package pelagic fish to support the construction of two purpose-built sardine fishing vessels;
- Shoreham Port which transforms a historic dry dock into a modern facility for local and visiting fleets.
Tom Willis, Port of Shoreham General Manager, said:
We are delighted that our application for the redevelopment of the Port of Shoreham Graving Dock has been successful. An essential facility for shipowners, it is one of the few remaining drydocks in the south of England and is part of our proud history, serving users since the 1930s.
When engaging with the fishing community, investment in improving dry dock capacity is consistently highlighted as a priority. The redeveloped quay will provide excellent dry maintenance facilities for vessels up to 50m in length, with workshop access and quayside space. Commencing shortly, the project will be completed early next summer.”
Allan Stephen, Director at Denholm Seafoods, said:
We are delighted with the support we have received from DEFRA, which from the beginning has been very productive. Winning the DEFRA grant will allow Denholm Seafoods to invest in our new freezing and production facilities which will maintain our high quality product.
The UK has a thriving seafood sector with exports of salmon – one of the UK’s biggest exports – worth around £600m a year and other stocks abundant fish such as Cornish sardines in demand on the continent for their quality.
For the second round of the UK Seafood Fund’s £30m infrastructure program which opens today, companies will have until March 2025 to complete their transformation projects, meaning that a wider range of organizations will be able to apply.
Defra will also shortly announce successful applicants to the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) programme, part of the UK Seafood Fund, which funds data collection and research to support sustainable fisheries management. The FISP final round will be launched in December 2022.