The Scottish Government is to shut down two funding schemes set up to help fishers suffering hardship due to Covid-19, after paying out more than £8.2 million.
A spokeswoman said the fund’s mailbox would stay open until next Friday, giving the industry just under a week to stake a claim for what remains of the £8.5m pot.
A £5m fund for smaller vessels up to 12 metres, or about 40ft, was launched in late March, with a further £3.5m made available for larger boats in April.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said the funds had helped 900 Scottish vessels, providing “essential support to some of our most vulnerable fishers”.
He also highlighted £2m of government support for shellfish vessels, £5.7m for processors and more than £367,000 for 34 struggling aquaculture firms since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Further support measures for aquaculture will be announced shortly,” added Mr Ewing.
Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association chief executive Mike Park said: “The catching sector is extremely grateful for the Scottish Government’s committed response to dealing with hardship during what continues to be a very uncertain period. A number of markets will take time to recover and it will be important for us to continue what has been a very positive dialogue.”
Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation national co-ordinator Alistair Sinclair said: “While we very much appreciate the efforts of Mr Ewing and his colleagues within Marine Scotland, Covid-19 is not the only challenge facing low-impact, high-value fishermen, as on the back of the current situation we are facing further uncertainty, with Brexit coming along in January – a double whammy and dire prospects.
“Covid-19 and Brexit are running sores within some sectors of the industry.
“We are not sure funds can or will be made available to give comfort as we move forward into the next phase of both issues.”
Mr Sinclair said inshore fishers were also having to cope with stocks in “terminal decline”.