Seafood Innovation Fund promotes ‘transformational change’ in UK fishing

seafood innovation fund
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The UK’s newly established £10m (€10.85m) Seafood Innovation Fund will drive investment in maritime research and innovation.

The Seafood Innovation Fund, launched last month by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will be delivered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. Dr Joanna Cox, Head of Policy at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “This fund is a call to action for fishermen and engineers to work together to bring forward sustainable and productive solutions at scale to the industry’s greatest challenges. Technology continues to deliver transformational change across the food sector, for instance, boosting the UK farming sector through AI and robotics. We welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement and urge the UK engineering community to apply the same pioneering zeal to positively impact the UK’s seafood industries through this £10m Seafood Innovation Fund.”

The fund will apply to innovation in all areas of the fishing supply chain, from novel catch techniques to fisheries management; and is expected to address an array of challenges including:

  • Developing innovative fishing gear and implementing data capture to monitor catches in real time, in order to minimise unwanted catches and the accidental catching of vulnerable species;
  • Automating the processes of sorting and processing fish catches, improving the survival rate of discarded fish; and
  • Innovations aimed at improving levels of sustainability in aquaculture, such as compensatory aquaculture, wherein waste from one form of aquaculture can be reused for its nutrients.

Lord Duncan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “The fishing and seafood sectors are vital to many of Scotland’s communities and help to support thousands of jobs across the country. The UK Government’s Seafood Innovation Fund is helping to support the industry with the technology needed to improve environmentally sustainable fishing practices while streamlining costs. By contributing to research and development in the sector, the UK Government is looking after the industry’s long term interests and supporting Scotland’s economy.”

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