COVID 19 – Emergency hardship support for Scottish fishing industry

COVID 19 is having a profound impact on all aspects of Scottish life. We are living in unprecedented times and as such our response to the current situation will be rapid, decisive and meaningful. The First Minister has already outlined the actions the Scottish Government is taking, alongside the UK Government, to preserve life and protect business.

Action is now required to protect the future of Scotland’s fishing businesses and the social fabric of our fishing communities which, due to the immediate and devastating impacts on markets, is now under threat. The Scottish Government is acting immediately, providing a package of financial support for our most vulnerable fishing businesses, with payments to be made direct to eligible fishers as soon as possible.

This initial support will go to those that need it most and whose access to markets has disappeared almost overnight. The Scottish Government has identified and has started contacting vessels who will be directly offered funding. Urgent action is needed to protect these businesses in the short term, so that they can continue to provide food and employment in the long term.

Key features of the scheme are:
• Those vessels receiving initial funding are all Scottish Registered vessels of 12m and under in length, and who have no other form of income to support them -– this includes creelers, divers, and smaller trawlers and dredge vessels, many of whom operate in remote and island communities;
• Payments will only be made to those making a full time living from commercial sea fishing;
• Eligibility will only be for those who have or will suffer market failure or loss and not where alternative markets clearly remain;
• For those eligible an initial payment of 50% of two months’ average vessel earnings will be made.
• Initial payments will be capped at a maximum of £27,000 as we explore State Aid restrictions and where there are owners of multiple vessels.

Those vessels not eligible for this initial support package but who feel they are in urgent need of support are invited to submit an enquiry to the contact email below. We recognise that all fishing businesses are different, and will consider any such enquiry for financial support on a case by case basis. In addition, over the coming weeks the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with fishing industry representatives, and will keep the support package under regular review as the situation evolves.

The Scottish Government stands ready to support Scotland’s fishing fleet through this crisis and to provide the appropriate support to enable it to weather this difficult storm for the benefit of the people of Scotland and our future generations to come.

To download the application form and for more details visit the MS Website

If you have any further queries please contact :