Welsh fishing businesses will have access to £24 million of UK-wide investment to develop technology, trial new gear and support world-class research to improve the productivity and long-term sustainability of the industry
The funding released by the UK Government to support better science and innovation projects is the first part of £100 million UK Seafood Fund designed to level up coastal communities across the UK. It will ensure industry is able to process more fish landed in the UK, and create more job opportunities across the supply chain.
It will also upskill the workforce and train new entrants, as well as investing in technology to put the UK at the cutting edge of new safe and sustainable fishing methods.
The £100 million fund has been divided into three pillars:
- The Science and Innovation pillar will see the fishing and seafood industry supported to work jointly with scientists to research new types of more productive and sustainable fishing gear, gather new data to more sustainably manage the UK’s fish stocks, and trial projects such as new biodegradable packaging for chilled fish and seafood to reduce single-use plastics.
- An Infrastructure pillar, to be announced later in the Autumn, will invest in projects to strengthen the supply chain in the UK, allowing the industry to make the most of increases in quota secured through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Potential projects include funding for the modernisation of ports, logistic hubs, freezing facilities, improvements to processing plants and new fish markets.
- A further Skills and Training pillar will support career opportunities and upskilling in the sector to ensure the industry has the right skills, capacity, and expertise. This will be a significant boost for training in the industry, which often has lacked formal routes for training and progression.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said:
“Over the last nine months, we have taken some important steps in the right direction for our fishing industry.
“We’ve taken our independent seat at the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, we have agreed a quota exchange mechanism, and we have seen an uplift in quota for UK boats.
“Now, this major investment will benefit coastal communities up and down the UK. The first investment from our £100M Seafood Fund will boost science and innovation in the fishing industry and, coupled with our Fisheries Act, help us ensure that we have the most sustainable fleet in the world.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, said:
“We are committed to making all areas of our economy more sustainable and resilient, and this fund will help to achieve that in the fishing industry. This investment will support the fishing industry and level up coastal communities and create jobs as part of our Plan for Jobs, as well as encourage further innovation in science and technology.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
“The UK government in committed to supporting the fishing industry in Wales and the £100M Seafood Fund will help ensure it continues to have a sustainable future, contributing to jobs and prosperity in our coastal communities.”
To support industry a Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships scheme will launch for initial engagement with industry before inviting bids for project funding. The scheme will fund the gathering of new data to sustainably manage the UK’s fish stocks, research new types of fishing gear to boost sustainable fishing, increase confidence in fisheries science, and increase knowledge of the benefits and impacts of fish farming.
The Science and Innovation pillar will also fund the existing UK-wide Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF), which aims to improve the sustainability and productivity of the UK fisheries industry.
SIF projects already underway include testing the viability of using solar powered recharging motors for the UK’s small-scale fleet and reducing single-use plastic by developing biodegradable packaging.
Further detail on how to bid for funding for both of these schemes will be announced in due course.