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More EU money for fishing

The Radiant Star is one of several Shetland beneficiaries in the latest round of EMFF funding.

SEVEN PROJECTS in Shetland have received funding totalling over £140,000 from the latest round of the EU’s European and Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) payouts.

The largest grant given to a local project was to the MV Renown, which received £60,000 for a new wheelhouse, casing and other modifications.

A private individual received over £25,000 go to towards the purchase of the Lerwick-registered vessel Sondra.

Nearly £19,000 has been given to the Arcturus to help pay for new fish handling equipment and scales.

Other beneficiaries include the Radiant Star, which is buying a new ice machine, the Lesleya, Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation, MLL Shetland Ltd.

The Scottish Government also contributed funding totalling £47,908 to the seven projects.

In September, eight Shetland projects received funding to the tune of £1.4 million from the first round of European Maritime and Fisheries Fund pay-outs.

The second round of funding saw a total of £4.1 million given to 56 projects across Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing hailed the latest cash boost as a benefit of European Union membership for fishing communities.

“This is an example of why EU funding is essential as it will help the sea fisheries sector improve the quality of their products and help them develop more environmentally friendly methods,” he said.

“In the absence of clarity from the UK Government on the impact of the EU referendum vote on EU funding we will do all we can to champion our shared interests and provide reassurance to fishing communities.

“We know the fishing industry is a vibrant and vital part of our rural economy which is why we will continue to engage with the UK Treasury to get clarity on future funding.”

Meanwhile, the local SNP branch this weekend showed its support for devolving fishing matters from Westminster to Scotland.

At a meeting on Saturday, the group unanimously agreed it is “vital that the UK negotiators do not trade away the access rights of Scottish fishermen to Scottish waters.”

SNP Shetland convener Robbie McGregor raised concerns that Scottish fishing will be “traded off” in negotiations to allow UK access to the single market.