Funding to boost the UK fishing industry through projects to upgrade infrastructure and revive local docks has been announced today, as the latest round of investment opens for bids from the UK-wide £100 million Seafood Fund to modernise the sector.
Winning projects set to receive a share of £20 million include the expansion of processing facilities for popular British fish like Scottish salmon and Cornish sardines, alongside money to bring an ageing dry dock back to life.
The UK Seafood Fund is a landmark government investment supporting the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fishing and seafood industry, with the infrastructure strand of the Fund helping to pay for upgrades to ports, processing and aquaculture facilities so they can meet future demand whilst also boosting jobs and economic growth.
As well as announcing the winners from the first round of this scheme, the government has today also confirmed a further £30 million will be made available for infrastructure projects as the latest round of funding opens for bidding.
The infrastructure scheme also supports businesses to become more environmentally sustainable, with successful bidders in Round 1 investing in greener technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to more reusable materials.
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:
Fishing communities are an important part of the UK’s heritage and they make a valuable contribution to our economy, so we are backing them with funds to boost growth and opportunities across the industry.
This funding will ensure seafood businesses throughout the supply chain are well-equipped to keep pace with increasing demand at home and abroad, boosting production and sustainability and building a resilient sector for the future.
Successful bidders from the first round of infrastructure funding will receive a share of £20 million from the government, matched with nearly £50 million of investment from private sources. They include:
- HSH Coldstores who are investing in a cold storage and logistics facility to further expand seafood processing in Grimsby and generate new jobs in the area;
- Scottish company Denholm Seafoods who will install equipment to increase production of mackerel and herring landed at Peterhead;
- Cornish-based Falfish who will invest in new technology to grade, freeze and pack pelagic fish in support of building two purpose-built Sardine fishing vessels;
- Shoreham Port who are transforming a historic dry dock into a modern facility for local and visiting fleets.
Tom Willis, Chief Executive at Shoreham Port, said:
We are delighted our application to redevelop the Dry Dock at Shoreham Port has been successful. An essential facility for vessel owners, it is one of the few dry docks remaining in the south of England and is part of our proud history, serving users since the 1930s.
When engaging with the fishing community, investment in improving Dry Dock capability is consistently highlighted as a priority. The redeveloped Dock will offer excellent dry maintenance facilities for vessels up to 50m in length, with workshop access and quayside space. Commencing shortly, the project will be completed by early next summer”.
Allan Stephen, Director at Denholm Seafoods, said:
We are delighted with the support we have received from DEFRA, which from the outset has been highly productive. Securing the DEFRA grant will enable Denholm Seafoods to invest in our new freezing and production facilities which will maintain our high quality product.
The UK has a thriving seafood sector with exports of salmon – one of the UK’s most important exports – worth around £600m annually and other abundant fish stocks such as Cornish sardines in demand on the continent for their quality.
For the second round of the UK Seafood Fund infrastructure scheme, which is worth £30 million and opens today, businesses will have until March 2025 to deliver their transformational projects meaning a wider range of organisations will be able to apply.
Defra will also shortly announce successful applicants from the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme, part of the UK Seafood Fund, which funds data collection and research to support sustainable fisheries management. The final FISP round will launch in December 2022.