The UK government has announced the launch of its own UK Maritime and Fisheries Fund to support the fishing industry after Brexit takes effect.
Operators in the fishing, aquaculture and seafood sectors will be able to apply for a share of the three-year UK Maritime Fisheries Fund, which aims to bridge the void in fisheries funding which will be left once the UK leaves the EU. The fund is worth a total of £37.2m (€43.02m), of which £14.7m will be made available for applications in England; £16.5m in Scotland; £2.4m in Wales; and £3.6m in Northern Ireland. Full criteria have been announced for applications for the English tranche of the funding, which must:
- Support innovation as a means of boosting economic growth, increasing safety and reducing the impact of the UK fishing sector on the marine environment;
- Improve port infrastructure, thereby growing opportunities for increased landing and export of fish catches;
- Boost coastal communities by increasing participation in the UK fishing industry;
- Support the adjustment of the sector to new international arrangements and standards; and
- Improve safety measures both onboard fishing vessels and onshore, such as new ladders or handrails.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “We are taking back control of our waters and establishing the UK as an independent coastal state, with a fairer share of fishing opportunities for the whole of the UK fleet. We are committed to a thriving fishing and seafood industry, and this funding will support innovation, jobs, safety at sea and help establish new markets and opportunities as we leave the EU.”
Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said: “I would encourage all fishermen to look closely at this new fund to see if it can help their businesses adjust to the new circumstances we will be operating under as the UK emerges as an independent coastal state.”