A north-east MSP has welcomed increased Scottish Government support for the seafood processing sector.
The scheme, which was launched in April, has paid out grants of £5.6 million to assist seafood processors impacted by the collapse of international markets and the shutdown of the UK’s food service industry due to Covid-19.
And so far, a total of 128 companies have received support through the Scottish Government’s Seafood Resilience Fund.
Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, who has fishing communities on the east coast of his constituency, has welcomed support for fish processors.
He said: “This support is crucial to ensuring seafood processing businesses remain solvent through this crisis, fish processors are reliant on buoyant markets, which have clearly collapsed with Covid-19.
“It is important we support them through this difficult period so I am please we have been able to help 128 companies through the scheme, and I know that – although times continue to be difficult – these funds have made a difference.
He added: “The Scottish Government will continue to work with our seafood sector to provide targeted support and guidance as we begin to carefully move towards the safe restart of the economy.
“As we begin to consider how to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it will be important to explore how to build greater resilience and more local opportunities for people in Scotland and the UK to enjoy our fantastic seafood.”
Jimmy Buchan from the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA), said: “The Scottish Seafood Association is very appreciative of the speed and delivery of the resilience fund for the processing sector.
“This has saved several businesses from failure.
“By and large, the Covid-19 shutdown affected most Scottish processors, and without the fast action of the Scottish Government would have led to job losses right across the seafood supply chain.
“The Scottish Government, along with the Rural Economy Secretary, actively engaged with the SSA during the industry’s most important hour of need.
“There is still much work to be done, with the SSA actively engaged with all in the supply chain.”