Support for the Fishing Sector

This week I was delighted to see DEFRA announce a new package of support for the fishing sector. Thanks to the likes of Jim Portus, Beshlie Pool, the Brixham Trawler agent team, the many fishermen from across South Devon for their advice and guidance and helping push the government to make this announcement.


This support will make a difference to a vital sector of our local economy and community.


The Government has announced:


  • For the catching sector, the fund will be open to under-24m vessel owners with fishing licences registered in England who recorded sales of £10,000 or more in 2019.
  • Grants will be made to help cover fixed business costs. For the catching sector this will be calculated from the average business costs for the size of the vessel, as surveyed by the industry annually.
  • Details of the eligibility criteria, including the criteria for the aquaculture sector and support for local projects, will be announced in due course by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
  • The MMO will administer the fund, contacting eligible registered owners and licence holders directly in stages with details of how to apply, starting on Monday April 20 through to early May.
  • Payments will be made for up to three months.


Further details on the government’s scheme can be found here.


There are a number of other avenues of support and there are outlined below. If you know a fishermen or business in need then please do share the below information.


  • Fishmongers' Company & Seafarers UK Rapid Response grant programme - £500k available in grants of up to £25k. Application form and guidance notes here. No match funding required
  • Maritime Fisheries Fund (MFF) grant details here - note that applications below £100k don't have to go to the grant panel, so can be turned around on a rolling basis Expressions of Interest can be submitted with the Marine Maritime Organisation then be able to supply a 'proceed at own risk' nod. Industry applicants should get ~75% funded for projects, dependent on the article they're applying under (note the marketing article is open, which hadn't been under EMFF for a while). Note that Fishmongers and Seafarers can be applied to, to provide the 'match' of 25%. 
  • Best people to advise on grant applications (including though other bodies) are the Fisheries Animateur Project - brilliant resource designed to help steward fishing groups through the application processes or help them find the right grants for their needs
  • There is this new interactive map for the ‘FishOnFridayUK’ website which is designed to help people find fresh fish sales points wherever they are in the UK. Any local businesses that wants to be on the map just needs to email with their details. To note - this is undergoing a much more substantial re-development and will be something properly interactive and exciting by September
  • Lastly, these guides for Seafish on direct selling, setting up collective fresh fish van sales and promoting fishing businesses. There are posters/social media materials for free download. Please help this vital sector by sharing these details.