Seafood exporters in Truro and Falmouth will be able to apply for a share from a new £23million Government fund to support businesses which have been most adversely affected by the COVID pandemic and the challenges of adjusting to new requirements for exporting.
This is in recognition of the unique circumstances of the fishing sector, which has had the most significant new requirements to adjust to, and for whom even a short delay can lead to goods perishing - at a time when the industry is facing lower market prices and demand due to the pandemic.
The fund will be targeted at fishing export businesses who can evidence a genuine loss in exporting fish and shellfish to the EU. Support will be available immediately and paid retrospectively to cover losses incurred since 1 January 2021. The scheme will be targeted at small and medium enterprises and the maximum claim available to individual operators will be £100,000.
The Marine Management Organisation will administer the scheme on behalf of exporters across the UK. More details will be available on eligibility criteria in the coming days. The Government will be consulting industry across the UK and working with the devolved administrations on these eligibility criteria before they are confirmed.
Truro and Falmouth’s Member of Parliament, Cherilyn Mackrory said:
“This funding is very welcome, to support fish exporters who have suffered doubly through market reductions because of the covid-19 pandemic, as well as issues as we adapt to the new export rules.”
“I continue to listen to my fishing communities in Truro and Falmouth and will be working with my Cornwall colleagues and across Government to ensure they get the help they need both during this pandemic and as we adjust to the new processes.”
Environment Secretary, George Eustice said:
“This £23 million scheme will provide crucial support for fishermen and seafood exporters, who have experienced delays and a lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry in the UK and Europe.”
“We are continuing to work closely with the fishing and aquaculture sectors to make sure that they are supported, and can continue to fish whilst contributing to the economies of our coastal communities.”
In addition to funding, the UK Government will provide further support to businesses in adapting to new export processes. Defra and HMRC will be offering targeted, proactive and hands on support to fisheries exporters to help them successfully meet the new requirements. This includes a new training package and focused workshop sessions.
Seafood exports to the EU require specific procedures, customs declarations, Catch Certificates and Export Health Certificates (EHCs) and businesses have adapted to these requirements at speed. As seafood is a perishable product with a ‘just in time’ supply chain, it is important that the sector can export quickly.
The UK Government has been working closely with the seafood industry and individual businesses to support them through this period and to ensure that any errors or problems are tackled as early as possible. The situation has been improving over the last week and the flow of goods is improving, but we will do more.