The press release issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 17 October 2023.
Government announces a further £3.9 million to be awarded to UK Seafood Fund projects across the UK.
£3.9 million has been awarded to projects to improve the quality of training facilities to upskill the workforce and promote seafood careers, as well as build new and improved sea fishing infrastructure, Defra has announced today (Tuesday 17 October).
The funding is being delivered through the £100 million UK Seafood Fund, which is supporting the long term future and sustainability of the UK fisheries and seafood sector through investment in modern infrastructure, science and innovation, skills and training, and support for exports.
The investment confirmed today includes around £3.8 million awarded to four projects across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as part of Round 2 of the Skills and Training scheme – building on the £1.1 million of funding that was around through the first round earlier this year and which goes towards new purpose-built classrooms, bespoke technical training areas including a new Maritime Bridge Simulator, and improved facilities for blended training to help ensure future generations have the skills needed to thrive in the seafood industry.
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:
We have already seen the great success that funding from the UK Seafood Fund has contributed to – from upgrading ports and aquaculture facilities to creating innovative training programmes to attract fresh blood into the sector.
Today’s investment will help to support the industry so that our existing and future workforce is equipped with the necessary skills and facilities to join the sector and benefit from the brilliant opportunities that are available to them with a career in seafood.
The funding includes £3 million to the Scottish White Fish Producers Association to build a Scottish Seafood Centre of Excellence that will replace a temporary training space with a high-quality industry facility in the northeast of Scotland. The facility will include purpose-built classrooms, technology demonstration spaces, and facilities for blended training so trainees around the country can benefit from the facility.
Other projects to receive support include the refurbishment of training facilities at the harbour in Portavogie, Northern Ireland, the upgrade of the Maritime Bridge Simulator at the University of the Highlands and Islands’ campus in the Shetland Islands, and the refurbishment and extension of facilities in Grimsby to create a new Seafood School.
UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont said:
It’s excellent news that three Scottish projects have been awarded more than £3.2 million combined from the latest round of the UK Seafood Fund.
The Scottish White Fish Producers Association’s exciting plans for a new seafood centre of excellence and University of the Highlands and Islands, Shetland, project to upgrade a seafarers training simulator will help keep Scotland’s fisheries, seafood and aquaculture sectors world renowned.
The £100 million UK Government fund is a crucial part of our commitment to help level up coastal communities and deliver the Prime Minister’s priorities of growing the economy and creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.
UK Government Minister for Northern Ireland Steve Baker said:
The Sea Fish Industry Training Association in Portavogie will benefit from over £450,000 of UK Government funding, assisting them to further enhance safety at sea.
The improvement to training facilities and equipment will help support the organisation’s mission of delivering quality training and advice to the local fishing industry. This is levelling up in action.
Mike Park, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, said:
Our members and the wider seafood sector are delighted at the award of £3 million pounds from the Defra training infrastructure fund, which will allow us to build a seafood Centre of excellence at the very heart of our fishing community.
The Centre will be the delivery point and hub for both onshore and offshore training supported by classroom and virtual learning and will provide an ideal base to help stimulate recruitment to the seafood sector.
Alongside this, the government has also announced a further £154,000 is being invested into Round 4 of the Infrastructure scheme, building on the £56 million which has already been invested through the scheme so far.
Round 4 is providing investment to support the sport of recreational sea fishing, with funding helping to build new club houses, boatsheds and storage facilities as well as improving access.
The UK Seafood Fund is currently open for applications from the commercial catching sector to purchase new, more fuel-efficient engines or to modify existing engines. Grants of up to £160,000 are on offer through Round 3 of the Infrastructure Scheme to trial greener engine technology, helping to create a safe and sustainable fishing sector whilst tackling rising fuel costs.
The UK Seafood Fund is part of the government’s wider work to invest in the long term prosperity of coastal communities around the country, creating jobs and boosting businesses.
The Levelling Up Fund has seen around £1 billion allocated to 50 projects in coastal to boost town centre and high street regeneration, invest in local transport projects, and support cultural and heritage assets.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is also establishing Levelling Up Partnerships in six coastal areas, which will provide these areas with bespoke funding packages and see government working closely with local leaders, mayors, businesses, community organisations and residents to identify and address the biggest barriers to levelling up.