South West fishing communities promised share of £75million Government fund

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Fishing communities across the West Country are among those being promised a share of Government money to help boost the industry's infrastructure, modernise ports and processing facilities and create more jobs in the sector.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced £75million is being made available to fishing communities across the UK. 

Environment Secretary, and Camborne and Redruth MP, George Eustice said: "This will be a big benefit to those coastal communities, particularly where we've got fishing from Newlyn right the way up to places like Fraserburgh in Scotland.

"These are all areas right around the UK for whom fishing is a big part of their economy and this fund will be a really important contribution to help them develop their businesses and deliver that economic benefit to those coastal communities."

The Environment Secretary says the fund will be a 'big benefit' for fishing communities. Credit: PA

£65million will go towards projects like modernising ports and harbours alongside increasing capacity and efficiency at processing and aquaculture facilities.

A competition will be run to identify the best projects, prioritising those that reduce carbon emissions, helping increase the sustainability of the sector and contributing towards the UK's commitment to reach NET Zero by 2050.

Up to £10million pounds will go towards encouraging more people into the industry alongside training and upskilling people who already work in fishing.

The two funding schemes are the second and third parts of the £100million UK Seafood Fund designed to level up coastal communities across the UK.

Fishing communities in Devon and Cornwall are hoping to see a shared of the money.

Chloe North, manager at Western Fish Producers, says: "We're hoping that we'll get some of the £75million or some of the levelling up fund for a planned extension to Brixham Harbour and I know that Plymouth is also hoping to do some work in the harbour as well."

The Government says the investment will ensure the industry and coastal communities are equipped to benefit since Post-Brexit, UK fishing boats will get a greater share of the fish from UK waters

But the MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport says the Government is taking too long to support fishing businesses.

Luke Pollard MP says: "I would like to see Fishers given what they were promised - a better share of quota, more investment in our port facilities and increases in training and support.

"All those things are in the government press release that came out today but they were in the government press release that came out a year ago as well."

The Government says the money will be delivered to projects across the UK by March 31st 2024.