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Coronavirus fisheries support scheme extended

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Money for the seafood and fishing industry has been allocated to help the sector navigate the challenges of coronavirus and the added complications brought by Brexit.

A funding package of up to £285,000 was agreed by Tynwald today (17 February) and will again offer support to eligible fishing vessel owners and seafood businesses.

The industry continues to reel from a sharp fall in demand from export markets, such as supermarkets and restaurants due to the pandemic, with the market price for some products falling by up to 40% since March 2020.

On top of this Manx businesses have been further affected by delays, complications and additional costs in exporting the limited quantities of seafood product to their main European markets, since the UK exited the EU on 1 January.

Recent French border closures and the Island’s own circuit breaker lockdown have also affected routes into Europe and impacted supply chains.

The amended Coronavirus Fisheries Industry Support Scheme (CFISS) will provide qualifying businesses and boat owners with support grants to help pay their fixed costs for 12 weeks – backdated to the 7 January 2021.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘The support is necessary to help our hardworking fishermen and independent seafood businesses who are an important part of our culture and economy.

‘The prolonged loss of income, depressed markets, and export challengers have put livelihoods at risk and this money can help businesses stay afloat and able to respond quickly as markets recover.’

‘This Government recognises the initiative and determination made in recent months to overcome these obstacles, and we will work with the industry until they are resolved. ’

The amendment is the fourth time the CFISS has been made available to the fishing and seafood industry since it was first launched in April 2020.