Seafood exporters across the UK will receive government funding of up to £23m, to support businesses which have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of adjusting to new requirements for exporting.
This is in recognition of the unique circumstances of the fishing sector, which has had the most significant new requirements to adjust to due to Brexit, and for whom even a short delay can lead to goods perishing – at a time when the industry is facing lower market prices and demand due to the pandemic.
The fund will be targeted at fishing export businesses who can evidence a genuine loss in exporting fish and shellfish to the EU. Support will be available immediately and paid retrospectively to cover losses incurred since 1 January 2021. The scheme will be targeted at small and medium enterprises and the maximum claim available to individual operators will be £100,000.
The Marine Management Organisation will administer the scheme on behalf of exporters across the UK. More details will be available on eligibility criteria in the coming days. The Government will be consulting industry across the UK and working with the devolved administrations on these eligibility criteria before they are confirmed.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “This £23m scheme will provide crucial support for fishermen and seafood exporters, who have experienced delays and a lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry in the UK and Europe. We are continuing to work closely with the fishing and aquaculture sectors to make sure that they are supported, and can continue to fish whilst contributing to the economies of our coastal communities.”