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Marine / More funding available for seafood sector

More than 200,000 boxes of fish have been landed in Shetland since the start of the year - Photo: Shetland Seafood Auctions

THE SCOTTISH Government has announced £1.8 million in funding to help seafood businesses recover from the impact of Brexit and Covid-19.

The funding, managed by trade marketing body Seafood Scotland, will support seafood businesses to access new markets within the UK and abroad, including campaigns in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

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The work will also include developing a strategy to encourage sustainability and improve quality assurance and accreditation of seafood produce.

In Scotland, ‘buy local, support local’ campaigns will also encourage growth in the domestic market, capitalising on rising demand for seafood provenance and quality.

Announcing the funding on a visit to processors Joseph Robertson in Aberdeen, rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “The last 16 months have been devastating for businesses in the seafood sector who have faced significant losses due to hospitality closures from Covid-19 and a raft of new trade barriers and bureaucracy following Brexit.

“The seafood sector is a crucial part of our rural economy, supporting jobs in coastal communities and our priority has been to protect people’s livelihoods.

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“While we continue to work to resolve some of the export issues the sector faces, this new funding will help the sector’s longer term recovery from these recent challenges.

“The funding for Seafood Scotland will help businesses explore new markets, giving them the support to promote their products across the UK and further afield.”

Meanwhile as reported at the weekend a number of local mussel farming businesses as well as owners of shellfish boats have been compensated for losses incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges linked to Brexit.

The awards made under the Seafood Producers Resilience Fund, which was announced in early February as a follow up to an earlier support scheme at the start of the pandemic.

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