Three Shetland aquaculture companies are among the latest to benefit from grants from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), with one alone securing almost £700,000 .
The companies – Island Innovations, Sandsound Mussels and Uyeasound Salmon – will receive £860,000 of the total £3 million allocated to different projects in Scotland.
Island Innovations, operated by Ivor and Angus Johnson from Vidlin, has been granted £691,079 to buy a second hand well-boat and to acquire and refurbish two containers as humane slaughter and primary processing facilities for farmed salmon.
Sandsound Mussels is to receive £75,600 to buy a new purpose-built vessel, equipment and machinery and Uyeasound Salmon will get £93,957, which will be used to buy a forklift truck, land, storage and fuel tanks and for the construction of a building.
Steven Anderson, owner of Sandsound Mussels, said: “I’m just delighted to have been awarded the grant. It gives me the opportunity to develop what is a small rural business to its full potential.”
Another 14 projects across Scotland will benefit from the funding, which is set to create 48 new jobs and safeguard 300 more in Scotland’s fishing, processing and aquaculture sectors.
Shetland has already benefited from grants totalling £2,465,869 so far this year. Some of the companies that have received grants include Lerwick Fish Traders, Rossyew Ltd, Blueshell Mussels, North Atlantic Shellfish, Hjaltland Seafarms and various fishing vessels, including the Whalsay white fish boat the Venturous.
Rural affairs and environment secretary Richard Lochhead made the announcement on Tuesday during a visit to the Orkney Fishermen’s Society, which recently received £55,000 through the EFF to upgrade its premises and meet increased market demand for brown crabs and lobsters.
Mr Lochhead said: “Today’s investment is a timely boost for our fishing, processing and aquaculture sectors, which together are worth over £1 billion to the Scottish economy.
“The high level of applications being received is further evidence that Scotland is rising to the challenge when it comes to developing innovative solutions and making our fleets more sustainable.
“From modernising vessels in our ports and making them more fuel efficient to strengthening the processing sector, the spin-offs for the wider economy are there for all to see.”