New entrants to the Scottish Fishing industry can now apply for funding towards the purchase of a second-hand fishing boat.
The support is being made available through Marine Fund Scotland (MFS), with young fishers under the age of 40 able to apply for up to 75% of the purchase of an existing vessel, with a registered length of up to 16 metres (52.5ft).
Funding of up to 50% towards the cost of a vessel over 16m and up to 24m (78ft) is also available.
Providing funding to young vessel owners is paramount in the future survival of coastal communities that have suffered from depopulation in recent years.”
Duncan MacInnes, Western Isles Fishermen’s Association
MFS replaces European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) support in Scotland, following the UK’s exit from the EU.
The one-year £14 million fund was launched at the end of April and aims to provide investment in Scottish marine industries and seafood sectors.
Fisheries Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “While we have previously supported young people through the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, Marine Fund Scotland puts more of an emphasis on getting new entrants into the industry – and helping those who wish to progress their career and become a vessel owner.
“Doing what we can to remove barriers for young people in fishing is crucial, so we can boost the resilience of the industry which supports jobs in some of our most rural communities.
“This is an important part of our future fisheries management strategy, which includes actions to promote fishing as an attractive and safe career of choice.”
The project was welcomed by Duncan MacInnes of Western Isles Fishermen’s Association.
Mr MacInnes said: “This funding will create an environment that will modernise the fleet, and create additional catching opportunities for career and business development for young fishermen living in fragile coastal communities throughout Scotland where alternative employment opportunities are limited.
“Providing funding to young vessel owners is paramount in the future survival of coastal communities that have suffered from depopulation in recent years.”
He added: “Investment in modern vessels will create a much safer working environment for younger owners with modern facilities aboard – which will enhance the quality of the catch in providing high quality, sustainable Scottish seafood to an increasing global market.
“Further benefits will be generated in ports where vessels land their catch, creating additional onshore employment opportunities by adding value to shellfish and white-fish within local processing factories.”
Further information on eligibility for the young fishers scheme can be found here.