£8.4 million to support Scotland’s rural economy

A European investment of £8.4 million is to boost coastal communities in Scotland.

Sea fisheries, aquaculture and processing businesses will receive a share of £8.4 million funding to boost growth and protect jobs in their area.

The latest round of the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will deliver 86 projects to help businesses upgrade or modernise their equipment across Scotland.

Around £1.7 million of the grant has been awarded for the refurbishment of the Pierowall Pier in Westray, Orkney, helping the work of 11 inshore vessels that supply the main processors on Westray and providing jobs for the community.

Others to receive the funding includes MJ French Fish Export Ltd in Fraserburgh, which will receive £362,000 grant to upgrade its processing facility, while a number of smaller grants will be used by fisherman to upgrade their safety equipment.

Fergus Ewing, rural economy secretary, who announced the funding, said: “Our rural economy plays a crucial role in supporting communities across the country which is why investment through the EMFF is so important.

“This support will help processing businesses to expand and enhance their work and make the day to day routines of fishermen easier and safer, by improving the quality of its products and enabling them to develop more environmentally friendly methods.

“I will continue to put pressure on the UK Government to engage Scotland on its thinking regarding future funding arrangements in order that we can shape a set of arrangements which respond to Scotland’s needs and reflect the devolved nature of marine policy.”