English aquaculture businesses producing seafood for the food supply chain may now apply for grants up to a maximum of £10,000 per farm from the government’s £10 million Fisheries Response Fund.
The £10 million fund for England’s fishing and aquaculture sectors, first announced by Defra and HM Treasury on 17 April, supports fishing and aquaculture businesses that have been adversely impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Around £1 million of the Fisheries Response Fund (FRF) has been allocated to payments towards aquaculture businesses operating costs. The grants of up to £10,000 will directly contribute to ongoing production costs.
Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis, said:
“Aquaculture businesses are a significant part of England’s seafood industry – supporting local jobs as well as quality produce for consumption at home and export around the world.
“These grants from our £10 million Fisheries Response Fund will make a real difference to these businesses, ensuring that they can continue to operate and support both our export trade and the economy of many local communities.”
The fund is being administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of Defra.
Tom McCormack, Chief Executive of the Marine Management Organisation, said:
“MMO has mobilised quickly to deliver three financial support schemes.
“In the last two weeks, we’ve actioned all Fisheries Respond Fund applications received from the catch sector (so far, making payments directly to over 1,100 fishing vessel owners with a value of nearly £4m); launched the new £1m Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme to support projects that support the sales and consumption of locally caught fish; and are now about to start administering payments to qualifying aquaculture businesses.
“Our key focus is to ensure this significant financial support gets to fisheries and aquaculture businesses as quickly and smoothly as possible.”
This final part of the FRF scheme is focussed on supporting aquaculture business that are active shellfish or trout farms in England, holding a business and a farm Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) authorisation number, and who produce shellfish and trout for direct human consumption.
From Thursday, 7 May 2020, eligible businesses will be contacted directly by MMO with further details on how to apply.
For further information on the fund criteria and eligibility, please see the guidance.