Investing in the Blue Economy
By Lucy Ashton
A new round of funding to support fishing businesses and wider marine organisations in coastal communities is open for applications.
Now in its second year, the Marine Fund Scotland has an overall budget of up to £14 million.
It was introduced by the Scottish Government to replace the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which UK businesses no longer have access to following Brexit.
Marine Fund Scotland will support projects which contribute to innovative and sustainable marine sectors, reduce carbon emissions and support coastal communities. It will reflect Scotland’s Blue Economy Vision, which was published earlier this year.
Helping to improve safety standards will also be a key aim, including individual fishers upskilling their safety training.
Announcing the second year of the Fund at the Skipper Expo in Aberdeen, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Building on the success of the first year of the Marine Fund Scotland, the renewed focus of the Fund this year will be on supporting our ambitions set out in the Blue Economy Vision.
“It highlights our commitment to investing in Scotland’s seafood and wider marine sectors and the communities which rely on them, supporting jobs and livelihoods while helping to protect the marine environment.
“The funding we have will be used to deliver maximum effect, but we will also continue to press the UK Government to respect the devolution of marine funding and to recognise the size and importance of Scotland’s marine sectors.”
Awards from the first year of the Marine Fund Scotland included supporting young fishers to purchase their first vessels, the purchase of safety equipment, enhancing gear selectivity and sustainable fishing practices, data collection, marine litter collection, marine research, and assistance to the seafood processing and aquaculture sectors, including to implement more sustainable practices.
Meanwhile, in 2022-23 the funding is made up of a competitive grant fund and funding for key strategic work, including projects delivering wider benefits for the marine sectors.
Marine Fund Scotland is designed to sit alongside, but is distinct from, other funds including the Nature Restoration Fund and the Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF).
Applicants to the Marine Fund Scotland will be asked, where relevant, to demonstrate that they understand the impact of their project on nature and biodiversity, and are taking appropriate steps to reduce or mitigate any negative impacts and enhance any positive impacts relative to their current position.
What a joke. I raised all of this in thousands of letters to the press, to Jackie Baillie, Des McNulty and John McFall and never got one word of support from any of them, you or anyone else. Every year there’s countless £multi-hundred million budgets for the funding and support for rivers and fisheries. Once, Des McNulty made enquiries to Ross Finnie, the Minister at the time. Finnie responded in complete and utter denial saying, “I’m not sure what you are talking about, Des” before referring to one, the Natura funding stream. McNulty never pursued it. With the devolution of the fisheries 1999 you lot never engaged in one single consultation, you never attended a single meeting and I never saw any of you at the international fishing expos in Glasgow. I’ll tell you who was delighted and over the moon with all of this dereliction and neglect….Andrew Wallace of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, who I knew in person. “Not much appetite in the Clyde District” he said. Literally, there was zero appetite here and you lot were signing blank cheques for the fat cats on the East Coast. Of course, the working class were never going to see a dime of any of this money but it would have helped to raise standards of management and it would have got jobs done. I actually joined organisations such as the Tweed Foundation to find out how things were done. What a joke. The closest I came to getting anything done around here was when I submitted a Crime Report against LLAIA to the PF, after L Division refused to do their job. That is all documented and on the public record. The so called “interested parties” here have been the kiss of death to West Dunbartonshire.
PS The Russian’s are rounding up your Catholic Nazi friends in Ukraine. Here’s your chance to write a pack of lies about “Tims In The Gulags.” A guaranteed No 1 best seller in the West. You’ll be up there with that Tsarist hack Solzhenitzyn, who got a Nobel Prize for his work with the CIA/MI6 death squads. I’ve got a good title for a book myself…”Fly Luftwaffe.”