Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) has welcomed additional Scottish government support for “one of the most beleaguered segments of Scotland’s fishing industry”.
The SFA also warned that seafood businesses should not be allowed to fail because of Covid-19.
A further £3.5m to help large sea fishing vessels was announced by the Scottish government on Friday, bringing seafood industry support to £22.5m.
The latest scheme provides capped payments of up to £21,370 per vessel to businesses with a vessel over 12 metres landing shellfish such as crab, lobster, scallop and langoustine – to help them meet fixed costs like insurance. It will also provide up to £42,740 for businesses operating more than one vessel.
This follows a similar scheme brought in for smaller vessels.
“At a time when so many people are in real financial difficulty, the Scottish government’s willingness to work with industry representatives and agree a speedy response is much appreciated,” said SFA executive Simon Collins.
“We simply cannot let seafood businesses in Shetland and other island and coastal communities fail because of Covid-19,” he added.
“They play a critical part in ensuring national food security and remain essential to our economic and social sustainability.”
The Scottish government has used its budget and UK funding to provide support the seafood industry.
Fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing said he had been “working closely with the fishing and aquaculture industry” following the onset of the global pandemic, and had “listened to calls from businesses who have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight as their markets have shut down in response to vital public health advice”.
Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, also welcomed “this further tranche of financial support for the Scottish fishing fleet”.