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The Scottish Government is set to provide financial support to its seafood sector amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
The government said that the seafood sector will initially receive more than £5m in financial assistance to support the businesses.
Scotland Fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The economic impact of Covid-19 is global, and is reaching into the heart of our fragile coastal communities.
“I have spent the last week listening to and liaising with our fishing industry, and there are many who have lost their livelihoods with little prospect of early recovery. The need for action is immediate.
“I am therefore announcing an initial package of support, and Scottish Government officials are working as hard as possible to get this money out of the door as fast as we can.”
Under the initiative, the government will offer funding to more than 650 seafood fishing companies, as many of them are said that they have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of the export and hospitality markets for langoustine, prawns and crab.
An initial payment of 50% will be made to the owners of all full-time Scottish registered fishing vessels with a length of 12m.
Support will also be provided to the onshore processing industry, which is said to be one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities.
Financial assistance will also be provided to the shellfish growing sector, which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets.
Ewing added: “We recognise that more needs to be done, particularly to try and create some alternative markets – at least in the short-term. I will be discussing with retailers how that might be achieved, and I would also encourage the public to play their part by buying Scottish seafood if they can.
“By working together we can all play a part in securing the immediate future of some of the key contributors to Scotland’s food and drink success.”