Isles fishing and aquaculture businesses will receive funding of £1.6m it was announced by Fergus Ewing during a visit to Lerwick today when the Scottish fisheries minister vowed he would be fighting for the fishing industry in the run up to Brexit.
The package was part of £8m announced for Scottish fishing and aquaculture which includes £6m funding from the EU.
A total of seven Shetland projects received support including £1.17m for Blueshell Mussels for improvement of facilities at aquaculture sites, £696,000 for SSQC to develop a biotoxin testing service and £498,00 for QA Fish Ltd.
Mr Ewing also announced £11,500 for safety equipment for the catching sector at a pierhead meeting with skippers this morning prior to his attendance at a meeting of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands at Mareel. He was joined by fellow government ministers John Swinney, Humza Yousaf, Keith Brown, among around 30 delegates at the meeting.
Announcing the funds, Mr Ewing said: “This £8 million investment will encourage growth and protect jobs in the sea fisheries and aquaculture industry by allowing businesses to upgrade technology and buy new equipment.
“This is just one example of why EU funding is so important as it is helping the sea fisheries sector improve the quality of its products and enabling them to develop more environmentally friendly methods.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to overcome the damage Brexit will cause to jobs, trade, education and to our public services. In everything we do, we will continue to champion our shared interests and provide reassurances to fishing communities.”
He said the money would help buy safety equipment for about 20 inshore fishing boats.
SFA executive officer Simon Collins said: “The safety of fishermen is paramount, and this association has long championed the welfare of its members. We’re pleased to be receiving financial support to further our goals in this area.”
On the future of fishing post Brexit, Mr Ewing said that fishing was extremely important for Scotland, particularly Shetland, and he was determined to get the best deal possible.
Mr Ewing added: “I am worried that the UK Government signals are that they are prepared to trade away access to our exclusive economic fishing zone as part of a wider Brexit fishing negotiation.
“The Scottish Government will argue strongly against that and we must have a voice in the negotiations. This Thursday I will be putting these points to the UK ministers. They cannot trade away Scotland’s valuable fishing resource.”