A £14 million boost to the marine sector has been announced by the Scottish Government in a bid to increase economic growth.
The cash will benefit seafood businesses and marine organisations in coastal communities through an additional year of the Marine Fund Scotland.
It is hoped the funding can help the sector balance the sustainable use of marine resources for economic growth, support livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystem.
Projects which have benefited from the fund in the past include modernisation of a salmon and trout processing facility to reduce energy and water use, installation of solar panels at a seafood cold store, and building process capacity at a shellfish producer to meet the growing demand for premium markets in the US and Asia.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Marine Fund Scotland has been crucial in supporting marine businesses and projects over the past two years.
“I look forward to many more exciting and innovative initiatives benefiting from it over this coming year.
“Our seas and coasts support vital jobs across our economy, especially in coastal and island communities.
“The last few years have been incredibly challenging for the sector, with Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis all having an impact.
“This fund continues to be key in supporting the sustainable development of Scotland’s blue economy and will play an important role in enabling our marine and fisheries businesses to grow.”
Donna Fordyce, chief executive of Seafood Scotland, said: “The Marine Fund Scotland has been crucial in the promotion of Scottish seafood in both developing new markets for the premium seafood we produce, but also in retaining existing markets.
“This is particularly so given the impacts of the last few years with Brexit and the Covid pandemic. We are now in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, which requires continuing effort to ensure that the quality and affordability of Scottish seafood is recognised.”
Applications go live from April 11.
The fund was established following Brexit and replaces financial support for the fishing and seafood sector previously available through the European Maritime Fisheries Fund.
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