Ports and harbours across the north that have lost income from landing fees due to the disruption caused by Brexit have received a share of a £1.8 million fund.
The money will provide necessary investment at ports and harbours for safety improvements and repair works.
Included in the support package is £180,000 to install shore power for the fishing fleet at Mallaig, £534,979 for repair work at Fraserburgh and £182,000 for new lighting and a fish landing crane at Lerwick Port.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing announced details ahead of the third meeting of the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce, where he called on the UK Government to improve collaboration on border and customs process for the EU.
Limited, complex guidance and the requirement to use multiple systems for catch and export certification and customs controls is leading to a number of EU vessels choosing to land into other countries like Norway, Denmark and Ireland.
EU flagged vessels accounted for around 7% of all landings by value into Scottish ports in 2019 and were worth £35.5 million.
There is, however, more of a reliance on them in smaller communities like Ullapool where around 13% of landings by value were estimated to be from EU vessels.
Mr Ewing said: “Ports and harbours are the lifeblood of many of our coastal communities up and down the country.
“As a result of the botched Brexit deal, and through no fault of their own, many are losing key landing fees from vessels and need this essential investment.
“Previously we committed £1 million but I am pleased to be able to increase this to £1.8 million so we can provide even more funding to approximately 20 ports and harbours and support jobs and livelihoods in our coastal communities.
“We’ve been working closely with the British Ports Association on this support and the ports and harbours will be able to start essential works immediately.”
Also announced were funds for resurfacing and stone work repairs to the harbour pier at Cromarty and re[airs to the breakwater at Sandhaven.
Improvements will be made to the existing fish house at Ullapool and the ice machine at Barra will be refurbished, while the quay surface will be repaired at Scrabster and there will be new quayside ladders and chart plotters for pilot boats at Stonehaven, Gourdon, Johnnshaven and Macduff.
Mr Ewing added: “While this funding will help our ports and harbours with longer term recovery, I am calling on the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce to provide urgent short term solutions and produce clear guidance so EU vessels and their agents can understand and have confidence in the requirements, and continue to land in our ports, which rely on them for employment and economic stability.”
Funding for ports and harbours was announced as part of a package of support by Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing on 3 February.
Due to the high level of demand for the fund, the initial £1m has since been increased to £1.8m.