£6 million fund to support UK fishing industry reopens for 2024

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One of Britain's many fishing communities Mevagissey, Cornwall.

Highly popular Fisheries and Seafood scheme (FaSS) re-opens for 2024.

Around £6 million in match funding will be available to projects developing the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors, and those enhancing the marine environment, under the latest round of the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS).  

Administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of Defra, applicants can now apply for this year’s funding which will support the fishing industry in a variety of areas, including health and safety, processing, partnerships, research and diversification.   

Funding will build on the £27 million already committed to more than 1,300 projects.

Successful applicants will be able to invest in a range of activities such as health and safety equipment to continue to keep fishing crews safe, processing equipment to increase the value of seafood products, vessel modification to improve energy efficiency, innovation partnerships and support to diversify and create new forms of income. 

Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:   

Our world-class fishing industry leads the way in making sure we offer the highest quality of seafood, support a multitude of highly skilled jobs and play a valuable role in ensuring our coastal communities thrive.  

This funding will help other projects and businesses to be more sustainable and resilient, enter new markets and improve our efforts to enhance and protect our precious marine environment.”  

Paul Errington, MMO’s Acting Director of Finance and Resources, said:   

We are delighted to continue to offer this valuable financial assistance to help strengthen England’s fishing community. FaSS has already enabled essential health and safety provisions for hundreds of fishers, helped businesses diversify their offering and helped amplify the voice and economic value of the fishing community.   

MMO’s grants team will guide fishers throughout the application process. They can offer advice on initial plans, or review expressions of interest, before the submission of a full application. Our investments so far are already making a difference and we look forward to building on these successes.”  

Coastal groups affected by the recent closure of the pollock fishery are encouraged to seek advice from the MMO to see how they can boost growth through new opportunities and partnership working. We will provide additional support to the most sustainable parts of the fleet by expediting applications from under-10-metre pole and handline fishing vessels.  

Lyme Bay Fisherman’s Community Interest Company (CIC) represents nearly 50 inshore fishermen across four ports in the Southwest and has been supported through the FaSS scheme since November 2022.   

Through £140,000 of funding the CIC has developed a website, created a seafood trail, developed a school’s outreach program to attract new recruits to the sector, and provided support to local businesses and shops through local scavenger hunts and engaging with regulators.  

Lyme Bay Fisherman’s CIC Chief Executive Mandy Wolfe said:   

We are so grateful to MMO for their support in getting our CIC up and running. No one has done this before and MMO has been fantastic throughout our evolution to help make sure we get the support that was needed to turn the aspiration into a reality.   

For those who follow our path, my advice is to put everything down on your lists, leave nothing off, and then work with MMO to create a successful bid. Their grants team provided us with help and advice, and while not everything we asked for was funded, we then understood why some aspects weren’t, and we discovered things we hadn’t thought of which could be.”  

Other projects benefitting from FaSS:  

  • Larry’s Fishcakes, a seafood processing business in North Shields, has received nearly £164,000 in funding to help the company diversify and enter the retail market.   
  • Cornish Fish Producers Organisation has received over £310,000 in investment in several projects to help with the marketing of seafood, health and safety of fishers, and to commission studies into spatial squeeze, economic value and the importance of the commercial fishing sector in Cornwall.   
  • Approximately £8 million has been invested in over 470 health and safety projects providing fishers with essentials such as PPE and equipment, to ensure safety and hygiene on board vessels and wellbeing of crew. 

FaSS is open for applications until 31 March 2025 or until all funding has been allocated, whichever happens first, and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Source: Department for Environment, Food & Rural AffairsMarine Management Organisation, and The Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP

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