Help is at hand for aquaculture businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic Photo: Terje Engø Help is at hand for aquaculture businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic Photo: Terje Engø

Aquaculture businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can apply to cover the costs of maintaining unsold stock through a new £1.25 million fund.

The scheme, which is being funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, will support businesses by compensating for the costs of transport, processing and cold storage for salmon, trout and shellfish until the end of 2020.

“This has been a challenging time for the aquaculture sector with businesses unable to bring products to market but continuing to face high operational costs,” said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

“This new funding, which will provide financial support for cold storing salmon, trout and shellfish, will mean businesses will be able to cover some of the additional costs they have faced trying to preserve stock during the global Covid-19 pandemic.”

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said that salmon farmers had been innovative. “But there is still a need for some of them for temporary storage, until overseas markets start to normalise again. We are delighted that the Scottish government has managed to access European funds to help with this process,” she said.

Stephen Cameron, managing director at the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, added, “At a time when markets are uncertain, due to Covid-19, the availability of this funding will keep farms and factories busy and allow flexibility in how we manage our stock and our workforce.”

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