Marine economy £5.6m funding boost will 'create jobs'

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image copyrightMowi
image captionScottish salmon are exported worldwide

A £5.6m funding boost for Scotland's "vital" marine economy will help firms create jobs, according to Rural Minister Mairi Gougeon.

Sea fisheries and processing businesses will share £4.2m in the latest round of cash from the EU's European and Maritime Fisheries Fund.

The Scottish government confirmed it will contribute the remaining £1.4m.

Among the beneficiaries are Seafood Scotland, which will receive £1.3m to help maximise key export markets.

Meanwhile, JK Thomson in Musselburgh will get £1.35m to help pay for the construction of a new processing factory.

With the UK's exit from the EU looming, Ms Gougeon called on Prime Minister Johnson's government to commit the necessary cash to allow the funding scheme to continue after Brexit.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionFish farming is a key part of Scotland's marine economy

She said: "The marine economy plays a vital role in supporting coastal communities and is critical to our ambitions to double the value of our food and drink industry.

"From grants which will help open up existing and new export markets to the funding of new and improved factory facilities, this £5.6m investment will support the marine economy supply chain, boosting growth and creating local jobs."

Ms Gougeon also had a message for Westminster.

She added: "With this round fully committing all allocated funding to the Scottish processing sector, I call on the UK government to meet its pledge, to provide the required additional funding to allow future rounds to proceed so that businesses can continue to grow and deliver sustainable economic growth for the seafood sector.

"This funding should be transferred to the Scottish Government for disbursement in Scotland, in line with the devolved settlement."