The Scottish Government has further recognised the obstacles facing the seafood and fisheries industry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges linked to Brexit. New financial assistance from the Seafood Producers Resilience Fund, to the value of £6.45 million, was announced by Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing on Wednesday 3 February. The promised details on eligibility with application forms were released by the Government on Friday 5 February.

This new funding follows an initial £10 million invested in April 2020 and will act as welcome support in the recovery of a very important sector in Scotland's economic landscape, not to mention the personal relief it will bring to the lives of those working in the industry.

In terms of who can apply for the assistance, a wide net has been cast, with separate provisions being made for the aquaculture sector producing shellfish or trout for table markets as well as businesses owning vessels Separate from this fund, an additional £1 million has been reserved to support continued investment plans for ports and harbours.

There are detailed criteria to meet. Vessel applications need to be in by 26 February 2021, with aquaculture applications being made monthly. The intention is to turn applications round "as quickly as possible" and payments being made within 28 days of eligibility being successfully tested, and the application being accepted.

Details are available on the Government website. 

There are certain limits surrounding what your business may or may not be entitled to. If your business owns vessels only, any grants received will be to a maximum value of £45,600 with an additional limit of £22,800 per vessel. If your business holds aquaculture undertakings however, the maximum grant you could be eligible for is £40,500. Finally, if your business owns a combination of the two, the total you could qualify for amounts to £45,600.

The Scottish Government estimates the fund will benefit around 1000 vessels and a further 75 aquaculture businesses. While there are caps in place to ensure fair distribution of support, it should be acknowledged that this is a finite fund.

To maximise your chances of success, it is worth reviewing the detail published by Government and assessing your own eligibility then completing your application form carefully to submit it as a business priority.


Martha Speed

Trainee Solicitor