The seafood sector has faced significant challenges over the past 18 months, but the situation is now improving as hospitality opens up and we adapt to new export requirements. Sector support worth £32.7 million is available this year, plus an additional £100 million to help rejuvenate the industry and our coastal communities.
Seafarers UK conducted a report in 2019 that found that most small-scale fishermen often had few savings and reduced financial resilience even before covid, and many have fallen through the gaps of Government funding because they either changed vessels or because their fishing opportunities and earnings in 2019 were not enough to reach the threshold for the fisheries response fund. What steps can the Minister take to address this issue and to support the small fishing boats in my constituency in Lyme Bay?
That excellent report, which I was very pleased to provide a foreword to, highlights that small-scale fishermen face not only financial challenges but social pressures. The report’s recommendations point to where industry and the Government might tackle these challenges together, and we are currently considering these in more detail.