Fisheries and Seafood Scheme: New funding rounds open

On 25 August, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) opened four funding rounds for applications to help support the fishing and seafood sector in England.

The time-limited competitive rounds, which are being delivered by the MMO on behalf of DEFRA under the £6.1m Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS), will match-fund projects that ‘deliver sustainable growth in the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors, and that conserve, enhance and support the recovery of the marine environment’. The four funding rounds are for projects that:

  • Support businesses trading in live bivalve molluscs (LBMs)
  • Contribute to protecting the marine environment
  • Deliver world-class science and technological advancements
  • Support or enhance the recreational sea fishing sector.

Launching the funding rounds, fisheries minister Victoria Prentis said: “The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme is an important part of our ongoing commitment to support the seafood industry as it accesses new opportunities outside of the EU. The funding will help create a sustainable and successful future for the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors.

“These four funding rounds will support shellfish businesses adapt to new trading conditions, help fishermen safeguard our marine ecosystems, support world-class science and boost our recreational angling sector. I encourage all eligible businesses to apply.”

The LBM funding round is open to individuals or businesses engaged in commercial activities in the LBM sector. To be eligible, projects must contribute to one or more of the following:

  • Strengthening the financial resilience and long-term viability of LBM businesses
  • Supporting LBM businesses seeking to adapt to new trading conditions
  • Enabling LBM businesses to have access to infrastructure (including depuration and other processing facilities) to enable domestic sales and exports.

The target outcomes for the science and technology funding round include:

  • Increasing innovative or technological advancements in the seafood sector
  • Developing new or substantially improved products, equipment, processes, techniques or behaviours
  • Increasing partnerships between the science communities and
    the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors.

This funding round is open to individuals or businesses engaged in commercial fishing, aquaculture or seafood processing, public bodies and local authorities that focus on fishing and aquaculture activities, universities, research institutes and NGOs.

Applications for the ‘protecting the marine environment’ funding round must contribute towards the following target outcomes:

  • Improving the management of the marine environment, including through the design and implementation of conservation measures, improved environmental monitoring, innovation linked to conservation and techniques and/ or equipment to protect the marine environment
  • Protecting and enhancing marine habitats and species, and the restoration of marine habitats
  • Supporting climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation.

This may include supporting innovative and technological advances and the development of new products and processes.

The recreational sea fishing round will fund projects that support or enhance that sector. This includes improvements to infrastructure, programmes that contribute to environmental and stock sustainability, and educational or promotional campaigns.

It is open to businesses and organisations based in England engaged with recreational sea fishing, public bodies and local authorities that focus on fishing and aquaculture activities, universities, research institutes and NGOs. Individual anglers are not eligible.

The closing date for submissions for all four funding rounds is 6 October. A review panel will be convened in late October to assess and score projects against the funding round criteria.

The FaSS remains open for eligible projects outside of these funding rounds. The fund focuses on projects that help businesses adapt to life outside the CFP and recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

It is funding a wide range of projects, from providing professional advice to businesses and encouraging local sales, to making fishing gear more selective and working conditions safer. In line with the government’s commitment to tackle climate change across all sectors, the scheme will work with the seafood sector to reduce emissions and provide environmental improvements.

The FaSS is in addition to the £23m committed earlier this year to support seafood exporters, fishing and aquaculture businesses affected by Covid-19 and new trading conditions.

For more information, click here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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