Scottish fisheries get £11m of European funding

Mixed batch of fish caught off the Scottish east coast The fisheries minister said the funding would allow firms to upgrade equipment and boost production

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Scottish fisheries have been awarded nearly £11m in European funding, it has been confirmed.

A total of 144 companies are to share the £10.9m grant from the European Fisheries Fund.

The Scottish government said the funding could protect and create about 3,500 jobs in the industry.

Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead said the cash would help the industry invest in new equipment, increase production and bolster employment.

Beneficiaries of the grant include Hjaltland Hatcheries, which were given £1.07m towards the cost of upgrading its salmon farm on Shetland.

Lighthouse Caledonia were awarded £756,000 to help build and equip a new processing facility at Stornoway on Lewis while the Peterhead-based MV Atlantic Challenge was given £137,800 to upgrade its vessel.

Dee Fish in Kirkcudbright got a grant of £339,200 to help develop its shellfish processing plant.

Mr Lochhead said: "Hundreds of Scottish companies and initiatives have been supported by the fund since its launch, and I am encouraged by the number and diversity of the applications for this round.

"Our fishing, processing and aquaculture sectors are worth more than £1bn to Scotland's economy and, in these difficult times, it is essential that we ensure they have a sustainable and profitable future.

"While the Scottish government is delighted to assist companies with these grants, private investment is equally important."

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