Marine Fund Scotland has £14m on offer for new ideas

Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Rural Affairs, at Aquaculture UK 2022

The Scottish Government is calling for innovative ideas to help transform the country’s “Blue Economy” – with £14m in grant funding on offer this year.

Applications are invited, from today, for grants from the Marine Fund Scotland, which is now in its fourth year.

Addressing the Fisheries Management Scotland conference today, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Mairi Gougeon confirmed that £14m will be made available through the Fund in 2024-25 to help deliver Scotland’s Blue Economy Vision, which sets out plans to transform the way the marine environment is used and how Scotland’s “blue” resources are managed.

The funding is available to a wide range of eligible individuals, businesses, organisations and communities to deliver projects that contribute to an innovative and sustainable marine economy, support coastal communities, and contribute to Scotland’s net zero ambitions.

Last year, a total of 91 projects were awarded funding, with grants ranging from under £1,000 up to £1.6m. These projects included the modernising of seafood processing facilities to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency; harbour improvements such as community clean ups and marine litter prevention; improvements to safety training and on-board safety for sea fishers; trials of new technology to protect farmed fish against sea lice and jellyfish; and marine research and innovation to protect Scotland’s iconic wild salmon.

Mairi Gougeon said: “The Marine Fund Scotland supports a wide range of exciting and innovative projects delivering on our Blue Economy Vision. Congratulations to those organisations and individuals who have already made successful applications – it’s fantastic to see that Scottish Government funding is playing an important role in helping our marine industries to evolve and flourish. I am looking forward to seeing the types of projects that apply for funding in this fourth year of the Fund.

“However, while the Fund is critical in delivering on one of our three core Government missions – opportunity: building a fair, green and growing economy – we no longer have sufficient funding to support longer term investment.

“Marine funding in Scotland continues to be short-changed by the UK Government so, as well as ensuring the full allocation for the Marine Fund Scotland is maintained in future years, we will keep pressing the UK Government to uphold their commitment to replace lost EU funding in full, so that we can continue supporting innovative projects in our marine sectors and coastal communities in the future.”

Fisheries Management Scotland received funding from the Marine Fund Scotland in 2023-24 of £750,000 to deliver four projects to support the protection of declining wild salmon population. This includes the management of invasive non-native pink salmon in Scotland as well as the purchase of equipment to support monitoring.

Dr Alan Wells, CEO of Fisheries Management Scotland, said: “Fisheries Management Scotland is extremely grateful for this important support from Marine Fund Scotland, which recognises that Scotland’s wild Atlantic salmon are a conservation priority. Our members are working tirelessly to protect, conserve and restore Scotland’s wild salmon populations and this vital funding will support these crucial efforts.”

The Marine Fund Scotland 2024-25 guidance notes will be published online at 3pm today.

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