The UK Government must urgently set out how it will protect funding for fish and
seafood sectors post-Brexit or risk undermining Scotland’s food and drink success
story, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has said.
Speaking at the start of Food and Drink Fortnight, Mr Ewing called on the UK’s Secretary
of State for Rural Affairs Michael Gove to clarify his intentions in relation to
support for the marine sector, including fishing businesses, processors, aquaculture
and infrastructure, in the event that the UK departs from the EU.
Scotland currently receives 46% of the UK’s share of the European Maritime and Fisheries
Fund (EMFF), with £81 million allocated from the EU to help Scottish businesses expand
and become more sustainable over the current 2014 – 2020 funding period.
The Scottish Government provides a further £53 million to EMFF awarded projects.
Mr Ewing said: “The UK Government’s failure to acknowledge our concerns around future
funding for coastal communities is disrespectful to the fishermen and businesses
that rely on this investment.
“The prospect of Brexit places this support in jeopardy and we need the UK Government
to urgently confirm firstly, that investment in the marine sector will continue at
levels which properly reflect the significance of the sector in the rural economy
and secondly, that Scotland will receive its fair share of future funding as well
as the power to determine how best to invest it.
“Over the last year we have seen record values of salmon exports and fish landings,
and we want to do all we can to ensure this success story continues.”
Concern over future fisheries and aquaculture investment