Boost for UK fishing industry with new infrastructure projects

Funding to boost the UK fishing industry through projects to improve infrastructure and revitalize local docks has been announced today as the latest round of investment opens for bids from the UK-wide £100m Seafood Fund to to modernize the sector.

Winning projects that will receive a £20 million share include the expansion of processing facilities for popular British fish such as Scottish salmon and Cornish sardines, alongside money to bring an aging dry dock back to life.

The UK Seafood Fund is a pioneering government investment to support the long-term future and sustainability of the UK’s fishing and seafood industry, with the fund’s infrastructure component helping to pay for upgrades to ports, processing and aquaculture facilities to ensure they meet future demand while also boosting jobs and economic growth.

As well as announcing the winners of the first round of this scheme, the government has also confirmed today that a further £30 million will be made available for infrastructure projects as the final round of funding opens for bids.

The infrastructure scheme also supports companies to become more environmentally sustainable, with successful round 1 bidders investing in greener technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to more reusable materials.

Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:

Fishing communities are an important part of Britain’s heritage and they make a valuable contribution to our economy, so we support them with funds to drive growth and opportunity across the industry.

This funding ensures that seafood companies 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 industry for the future.

Successful bidders from the first round of infrastructure funding will receive a share of £20 million from the government, matched by nearly £50 million in investment from private sources. They contain:

  • HSH Coldstores investing in a cold storage and logistics facility to further expand Grimsby seafood processing and create new jobs in the area;
  • Scottish company Denholm Seafoods, which will install equipment to increase production of mackerel and herring, landed in Peterhead;
  • Falfish of Cornwall, which will invest in new technology to sort, freeze and package pelagic fish to support the construction of 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 that our application to redevelop the dry dock at Shoreham Harbor has been approved. An essential facility for ship owners, it is one of the few remaining dry docks in the south of England and has been part of our proud history, serving users since the 1930s.

In involving the fishing community, investments in improving dry dock capacity are consistently highlighted as a priority. The redeveloped dock offers excellent dry maintenance facilities for vessels up to 50 meters in length, with access to workshops and quay space. The project will start soon and will be completed early next summer.”

Allan Stephen, director at Denholm Seafoods, said:

We are very happy with the support we have received from DEFRA, which has been very productive from the start. Securing the DEFRA grant will allow Denholm Seafoods to invest in our new freezing and production facilities that will maintain our high quality product.

The UK has a thriving fishing industry with salmon exports – one of the UK’s main exports – worth around £600 million a year and other abundant fish stocks such as Cornish sardines which are in demand on the continent for their quality.

The second round of the UK Seafood Fund’s £30m infrastructure programme, which starts today, will give companies until March 2025 to deliver their transformational projects, meaning a wider range of organizations can apply Sign Up.

Defra will also soon announce successful applicants to the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) programme, part of the UK Seafood Fund, which funds data collection and research to support sustainable fisheries management. The last FISP round will start in December 2022.

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