Supporting the UK’s fishing industry during COVID-19

The coronavirus crisis led to the collapse of seafood markets across the UK. To support the seafood supply chain, the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust and Seafarers UK developed and matched-funded a £500,000 Rapid Response Grant Programme (RRGP) to seek diversification opportunities for seafood and fishing businesses; promote the consumption and sale of local seafood; and provide seafood-based community meals.

A total of 158 applications were received between 8 April to 21 May via the Fishmongers’ Company’s ‘Fish on Friday’ website, with 127 projects and 132 organisations approved for immediate funding by a panel of industry experts from across the UK, including Seafarers UK Grants Director Deborah Layde. Many applications came from smallscale fisheries, who sought funds which would enable them to sell their catch directly to the public.

The Company’s Fisheries Team explored ways in which the impact of the RRGP could be extended beyond the current cycle of grants, including leveraging newly available government grants, and providing ongoing digital, networking, and marketing support for fishers.

‘Sincere thank you to the Fishmongers’ Company and Seafarers UK for the financial assistance. The funding has enabled a few of our fishers in Northern Ireland to keep working and fishing to order. Our seafood shop in Kilkeel has been turned into a hub from where home deliveries are dispatched, allowing us to bring staff out of furlough, said Alan McCulla, Chief Executive of Sea Source.

Photo: Sea Source, Kilkeel, Northern Ireland

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