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Seven seafood firms to benefit from EU cash

Scottish fishing minister Fergus Ewing with Shetland Fishermen's Assocation's Leslie Tait. Photo: Hans J. Marter/Shetland News

SEVEN local seafood companies are to benefit from more than £1.7 million of European funding, Scottish fishing minister Fergus Ewing announced during a visit to Lerwick on Monday.

Brae-based Blueshell Mussels, Shetland Seafood Quality Control (SSQC) and Scalloway-based fish processing company QA Fish are the main beneficiaries of the grant funding.

Blueshell will receive more than £585,000 to help the isles’ largest farmed mussel producer to further expand and to improve the company’s support facilities.

SSQC has been awarded almost £700,000 for its quantitative biotoxin testing, while QA Fish will be supported with a £250,000 grant towards an expansion project worth half a million pounds.

Other beneficiaries were the Shetland Fishermen’s Association (£11,524) towards the purchase of new GPS-based safety equipment that will become mandatory on smaller vessels (above 10 metres in length) later this year, Hunter Shellfish towards an expansion (£79,597), Thule Ventures towards its salt cod project (£31,747), and the fishing boat Girl Isla to help with the purchase of insulated fish bins (£420).

Visiting Lerwick’s fishmarket on Monday morning, Ewing said the Scottish government would do all they could to get the best possible deal for the fishing industry at the Brexit negotiations. (see video)

He added: “This £8 million investment will encourage growth and protect jobs in the sea fisheries and aquaculture industry by allowing businesses to upgrade technology and buy new equipment,” he said.

“This is just one example of why EU funding is so important as it is helping the sea fisheries sector improve the quality of its products and enabling them to develop more environmentally friendly methods.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to overcome the damage Brexit will cause to jobs, trade, education and to our public services. In everything we do, we will continue to champion our shared interests and provide reassurances to fishing communities.”

SFA executive officer Simon Collins added: “The safety of fishermen is paramount, and this association has long championed the welfare of its members. We’re pleased to be receiving financial support to further our goals in this area.”

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