Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing confirmed today (Monday) that a £5 million investment will modernise and enhance Peterhead port.
The funding, which is being provided on an equal basis by the Scottish Government and EU, through the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund, will allow Peterhead Port Authority to expand the floor space of its fish market by 50%.
The investment will also make it possible for the port to bring together services and facilities like stores, ice, boxes, water, fuel and repair services into one place, so fleets can complete their port calls more quickly and efficiently.
Mr Ewing heard more about the expansion plans on a visit to the port where he also discussed priorities ahead of the conclusion of fisheries deals and quotas at December Council.
He said: “This £5 million investment will help cement Peterhead’s reputation as not only the biggest European fishing port but the most modern and accessible for fishermen.
“Scotland’s fishing industry is a vital part of our rural economy with our fishing fleet generating £437 million last year. We are strategically placed to have the best fishing industry in Europe and the Scottish Government is committed to doing all it can to make that a reality.
“That’s why our priority continues to be pursuing all options to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU as nearly half a billion pounds worth of seafood is exported to Europe, and why we have been vocal that leaving could mean losing both a market and a source of vital funding.”
Mr Ewing will join his counterparts from around Europe at the annual negotiations in Brussels on December 12.
He added: “As Scotland’s fishing champion I will be urging the UK Government’s Fisheries Minister to deliver for Scotland and not just England. We need to get the best possible deal so we can build on the success we’ve already achieved and have a sustainable and profitable fishing industry.
“We will continue to do everything we can to ensure Scottish fishing quota is retained in the hands of active Scottish fishermen and that quota speculation is ended.”
Ian Laidlaw, Chief Executive of PPA said: "We had an excellent visit from Mr Ewing, Eilidh Whiteford MP and Stewart Stevenson MSP today and they were shown around the fish market and construction site.
"We have had workers on site for around three to four weeks and we are slightly ahead of schedule as everything is going very smoothly - we even completed our 100th pile at the weekend."
He added: “Securing Scottish Government and EU (EMFF) support was essential in allowing us to progress with what will be the Port’s largest development project in living memory, costing in total £49m.
“Maintaining Peterhead’s leading position in the market is not only important for Peterhead and Aberdeenshire but also allows us to continue to make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.
"Our investment not only protects existing jobs but also creates employment in the fishing and related industries for the future.”