To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help small fishing vessels, that have catches below the minimum threshold, to obtain support from the Seafood Response Fund.
29 April 2021
The Seafood Response Fund did not have restrictions based on minimum vessel size but did utilise a minimum sales threshold of £10,000 recorded on sales notes supplied by registered buyers and sellers of fish between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019. The scheme was targeted in this way to ensure that Defra only supported businesses that participated in the seafood sector on a fulltime basis. Wider government support was available for businesses impacted by COVID-19, and the £10,000 threshold ensured the fisheries scheme represented value for money and was targeted at commercial fishing businesses that were reliant on seafood as their main source of income.
The Government remains committed to supporting the seafood sector, including small fishing vessels, and at the last Spending Review we announced £32.7 million in funding to support the sector. In England some of this funding is being used to deliver the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme, which will provide grant funding for projects that help seafood businesses of all sizes adapt to new export conditions, recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and achieve other sector priorities. Businesses outside England should contact their own fishing administrations to see what other support may be available.