The British government has committed £75 million to the UK seafood industry. £65 million will go towards modernising infrastructures such as ports, harbours, and processing facilities. £10 million will be used to train and improve workers in the fishing and aquaculture sectors. The financing will be distributed through England, Wales, and Scotland.
The investment aims to help coastal communities capitalise upon increased fisheries quotas secured in a Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed last year with the EU. Under the agreement, 25 percent of the overall EU quota in UK waters will be transferred from other European countries over the next 5 years.
The funding will support sustainability by investing in renewable energy. There are plans to electrify UK ports, encourage solar panel use, and build docking capacity for electric and hybrid ships. Fishers will be trained in more sustainable fishing techniques so that they can work in Marine Protected Areas. They will also be supported in skills such as business management, mathematics and literacy, and health and safety.
The announcement coincided with the publication relating to the government’s ‘Economic Link’ policy designed to strengthen UK fisheries. It will impose several conditions on UK registered vessels over 10 metres that land more than 2 tonnes of the national quota per year. From April 1st 2022, all vessels in this category must land at least 50% of their quota in the UK. They must also employ crews of whom at least reside in UK coastal areas.
Britain’s fishing industry is small, but many coastal communities rely on the sector. Grimsby in the Northeast is set to be a prime beneficiary of the funds. Once the biggest fishing port in the world, its seafood industry went into steep decline after EU quotas empowered European fishing fleets to operate in its coastal waters. The local economy is now transitioning into the green energy sector and Britain’s largest offshore wind-power cluster is located here.