The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme will provide financial assistance for projects that support sustainable growth in the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors, and enhance the marine environment. The scheme is available to applicants whose businesses and/or vessels are registered in England.

The scheme will provide funding for a range of projects that deliver the following seven strategic priorities:

  • promoting a sustainable sector for future generations;
  • protecting the marine environment, by reducing the environmental impacts of the sector;
  • delivering world class science and innovation;
  • supporting coastal communities to promote economic growth and social inclusion;
  • supporting the reform of stock and quota management to ensure a balance between fishing opportunities and capacity;
  • enhancing the value chain through marketing and processing, opening the potential for English businesses home and abroad;
  • developing industry infrastructure which is essential to supporting sustainable growth across the whole sector.

Not all areas of the scheme will always be open for support. Some areas will be opened later and for a defined period, through a funding round.

Who can apply for funding?

To be eligible for this scheme you must be one of the following:

  • An individual or business engaged within commercial/recreational sea fishing, aquaculture or processing
  • A public body/local authority in a local community that has a focus on fishing/aquaculture activities (including trust ports and local authority ports, and public bodies, using funds for environmental improvements/management of fisheries)
  • A university or research institute
  • A new entrant to the industry or unemployed individual that could benefit from knowledge/skills in fishing/aquaculture activities.

You will be required to declare if you have received funding from other Government financial support schemes and, if so, what for.

If you are a business, you will need to declare whether you fall into the category of micro-entities, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) or larger enterprises.

You cannot get funding for:

  • increasing the catching capacity of fishing vessels and/or activities that would negatively affect the exploitation of fish stocks;
  • increasing the ability of your vessel to find fish;
  • increasing the capacity of fish holds;
  • building, purchasing or acquiring fishing vessels or importing them;
  • carrying out exploratory fishing;
  • pulse trawling;
  • the same type of equipment for the same vessel if you have already received support through the scheme;
  • transferring ownership of a business;
  • direct restocking unless explicitly provided for as a conservation measure or in the case of experimental restocking;
  • the purchase or construction of inland fishing vessels;
  • statutory or mandatory undertakings – items and services that are statutory or mandatory requirements of law and bylaws cannot be funded;
  • preventative or scheduled maintenance costs;
  • maintenance and mandatory costs for any vehicles;
  • purchasing or leasing of vehicles that are not used exclusively to provide a direct contribution to the project;
  • interest on a debt;
  • the purchase of land or housing that’s worth more than 10% of your project’s total expenditure;
  • your business’s operating costs, unless the MMO has told you otherwise in your Offer Letter
  • the re-payments of loans on any item(s) you have purchased;
  • the costs of any item(s) bought with a loan until the loan is repaid (this does not include leased items as long as your Offer Letter allows funding for them);
  • any costs that have been fully or partially funded through an alternative grant;
  • any costs that you could recover in part or in total by making a claim on an insurance policy or by seeking compensation or damages.
  • Cost for any items purchased prior to receiving acknowledgement of receipt of your funding application by the MMO

You can apply for funding online using the Fisheries and Seafood Support E-system. You may need to complete more than one application if your project has different elements within it. You should read the associated guidance for each part of your application.

If your application is successful, you will need to be able to pay for your entire project up front – you can then claim the costs back from MMO.

You may wish to submit an ‘expression of interest’ form to see if a project is eligible before completing an application form or responding to a funding round. It is not essential but may help you understand whether your project is likely to fit the criteria for funding.

If your total project cost is above £150,000, we would recommend that you contact the grants team prior to applying to discuss the proposal.