Support for fishers during the pandemic

Fisher Robert with his two daughters

In south-east Scotland, the collapse of the European shellfish market during the COVID-19 crisis saw most of the fishing boats tied up with no income for the foreseeable future.

With the hospitality sector and fish markets closed, it was clear how difficult the pandemic would be for fishers and their families.

Seafarers UK released an emergency grant of £200,000 to the Fishermen’s Mission to provide hardship welfare grants to support those affected by the crisis.

Robert, a fisherman from Port Seton, tells us how COVID-19 affected his family: ‘We just about survived a harsh winter when the coronavirus pandemic began. With no catch to sell, I could not support my wife and our two wee girls. My circumstances meant I was not eligible for either Universal Credit or assistance from the Scottish Government Hardship Fund. It’s never easy to ask for help, but I’m so relieved that the Fishermen’s Mission was there for me. It means that the light and heat can stay on at home and there is food on the table.’

Fishermen’s Mission Eyemouth Superintendent Claire McIntosh, who helped Robert access emergency funds says: ‘Robert’s family would be facing an extremely bleak time trying to survive, but with our expert help and an emergency hardship grant, they have hope of getting through the crisis.’

Ali Godfrey, Director of Business Development at the Fishermen’s Mission explains the importance of Seafarers UK to the Fishermen’s Mission: ‘The generous emergency funding given by Seafarers UK means that our frontline staff can confidently support fishers.’

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