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Marine Fund Scotland given £14.5m to spend next year

A fish being examined at a Scottish salmon farm. A grant from Marine Fund Scotland is helping to fund a project to develop a safe sea lice treatment for fish compromised by gill disease.
A fish being examined at a Scottish salmon farm. A grant from Marine Fund Scotland is helping to fund a project to develop a safe sea lice treatment for fish compromised by gill disease.

The Marine Fund Scotland, which has supported a range of Scotland’s aquaculture- and marine-related businesses since Brexit, will have funding maintained at £14.5 million for the 2022-23 financial year.

The funding was contained in the Scottish Government’s annual budget presented to the Scottish Parliament by finance secretary Kate Forbes last week.

The Marine Fund Scotland is the Scottish Government’s replacement for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which UK businesses no longer have access to following Brexit. The funding is part of a budget package of more than £650m in ongoing support across the rural economy in agriculture, fishing, and seafood.

Mairi Gougeon:
Mairi Gougeon: "We continue to press the UK Government to increase the allocation of marine funding to properly reflect the size and importance of Scotland’s marine sectors".

Communities hit hard

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Rural and coastal communities have been hit hard by the economic impacts of Brexit and the pandemic.

“This budget underlines our commitment to supporting these communities, sustaining and creating employment, while meeting our climate change responsibilities.

“We continue to press the UK Government to increase the allocation of marine funding to properly reflect the size and importance of Scotland’s marine sectors, and address underfunding in the past and the significant impacts of Brexit on these sectors.

“At the same time, this funding will deliver sustainability, promote Scotland’s iconic food and drink produce and protect our natural environment for the generations to come.”

Sea lice treatment

Recent beneficiaries of the Marine Fund Scotland include Pulcea Ltd, which was granted £198,573.81 towards the £223,573.81 cost of developing a safe sea lice treatment for farmed salmon with gills compromised by amoebic gill disease or other pathogens.

Seafood processor and trout farmer Dawnfresh was also granted £960,000 towards the £5 million-plus cost of restructuring operations to concentrate on an expanded factory in Arbroath, which the company has said is critical if it is to keep seafood jobs in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Marine Scotland, which is responsible for the integrated management of Scotland’s seas including some aspects of aquaculture, has been given almost £10 million of extra funding. The Scottish Government said this underlines its commitment towards net zero and biodiversity through expansion of offshore renewables, climate-related research, and environmental protection.