June 22, 2020
US$1.5 million fund to support Scottish aquaculture businesses affected by pandemic
A £1.25 million (US$1.5 million) fund provided by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will support Scotland's aquaculture businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fish Farmer reported.
The fund can be applied for to cover the costs of maintaining unsold stock as well as the costs of transport, processing and cold storage for salmon, trout and shellfish until the end of 2020.
Fergus Ewing, Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary, acknowledged the "challenging time" the aquaculture sector faces as businesses could not get products to market and are coping with high operation costs.
"This new funding, which will provide financial support for cold storing salmon, trout and shellfish, will mean businesses will be able to cover some of the additional costs they have faced trying to preserve stock during the global COVID-19 pandemic," Ewing said. He added that farmed salmon "is Scotland's most important food product."
"Our farmers have worked tirelessly through this lockdown period to keep farms running, to protect the health and welfare of their workers and salmon and to maintain supplies to customers," said Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO).
Hesketh-Laird noted "the innovation by farmers in finding new markets" as export demand declined due to COVID-19 restrictions.
She added: "But there is still a need for some of them for temporary storage, until overseas markets start to normalise again. We are delighted that the Scottish Government has managed to access European funds to help with this process."
- Fish Farmer