Concern over NE losing out on fisheries funding

Although 45% of fish caught in Scottish waters are landed in the north east, the area received just 13.7% of the 14million total fund
Although 45% of fish caught in Scottish waters are landed in the north east, the area received just 13.7% of the 14million total fund

Concerns were raised in the House of Commons last week after it was revealed that two-thirds of Aberdeenshire bids for coastal community cash had been rejected.

Figures released showed 100 local bids for support from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund were rejected by the Scottish Government.

Raising this with the Scottish Secretary, Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid asked for assurances that communities such as Peterhead and Fraserburgh would benefit from a “sea of opportunity” when the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Holyrood questions by the Scottish Conservatives found 45% of fish caught in Scottish waters are landed in the north east, but received just 13.7% of the £14million total fund.

In contrast, 65% of applications for Shetland were granted, and 51% from Orkney were backed.

Addressing the research, Mr Duguid said: “Does my right honourable friend share my concern that North East Scotland, the heartland of the UK fishing industry, received just 13% of grants made by the Scottish Government under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund?

“Can he assure me that as we leave the EU, we work with the Scottish Government, to ensure that communities in the North East get the funding they need to get the most from the ‘sea of opportunity’?”

Mr Mundell responded: “I absolutely share my honourable friend’s concern.

“Of course, it is the policy of the SNP Scottish Government to take Scotland right back into the Common Fisheries Policy. It’s our policy to leave the CFP but also to support the industry, to take advantage of that sea of opportunity.”

The information on the funding breakdown was provided in response to Scottish parliamentary questions from North-east MSP Peter Chapman. He said: “While I understand that large sums have been granted to central belt or city-based research projects to help with sustainability and aquaculture, I am concerned about the rest of the allocation.

“North East Scotland is the biggest base for fishing, with Peterhead landing the biggest tonnage in Scotland this year, and Fraserburgh the third biggest.”

“That means about 45% of fish caught in Scottish waters are landed in the North-east.

“Yet, only 31.5% of Aberdeenshire’s EMFF applications were granted over the period 2017-18, receiving just 13.7% of the total money spent.

“In contrast to this, 51.85% of applications from Orkney were accepted, accounting for 20.2% of the total spend, and 65% of Shetland applicants granted with 12.1% of the total spend.

“I am concerned that the north-east is not a priority for this government.

“With £14m available, I would have expected the north-east to receive more support.”