SCOTLAND CALLS FOR £62M REPLACEMENT POST-BREXIT FISHERIES FUNDING
Scotland should receive at least £62 million annually in replacement of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) according to Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Mr Ewing raised the issue at an EU Exit Operations meeting last week and has now written to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, seeking much needed clarity on UK Government funding for this vital sector from 01 January 2021.
In addition to Brexit, Scotland’s seafood sector has been hard hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the loss of export and food service markets. The new funding is also key to supporting recovery for coastal communities and protecting jobs.
The letter states: “Scotland would anticipate any domestic replacement funding to reflect this importance and we had identified that we are seeking an allocation to replace the EMFF of £62m per annum.
“As I have also highlighted consistently, the loss of EU funding comes at a time when the biggest risk to Scotland’s seafood industry is the UK Government’s Brexit proposals. The harm Brexit will impose on the people and economy of Scotland must be minimised as far as possible. The alternative is to see our seafood industries facing potentially crippling delays and additional costs, which could prove devastating for jobs and exports and have wider repercussions for the marine sectors and the fragile communities which rely on these sectors. If we had remained as EU members the replacement for the EMFF would have been available from the start of January 2021. Given the UK Government’s commitments in respect of EU funding it is therefore vitally important that the option is also available to support the seafood sector from the start of January 2021.”
Scotland generates 14% of EU aquaculture production, 9% of EU sea fisheries landings and is responsible for 10.9% of European sea area to manage.
The transition period for leaving the European Union is due to end in 10 weeks’ time.