Firm lands seafood funding - to help protect birds

Joseph Bulmer

Dartington-based business Fishtek Marine has been awarded £15,600 from the Government’s UK Seafood Fund.

Approximately £1.4 million of the £24 million science pillar has been allocated to eight innovative research projects to support the UK’s fishing industry in becoming more productive and sustainable.

The grant funding will allow Fishtek Marine to develop a full research proposal for a UK-wide project to collect data on the efficacy of technologies to reduce seabird bycatch. By undertaking this assessment, the company will also seek to collect important data on seabird bycatch numbers using remote electronic monitoring.

The project will be delivered in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Seafood and Eat It Processing Ltd and SeaScope Fisheries Research Ltd.

The £100 million UK Seafood Fund was launched to help level up coastal communities across the UK. Alongside the funding for science and innovation, it also includes a £65 million infrastructure scheme announced in December which will be made available for projects such as modernising ports and harbours, and a further £10 million to encourage new entrants into the fishing sector, as well as to train and upskill current workers.

Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis, said: “I am pleased to see the £100m UK Seafood Fund in action, backing the impressive wealth of talent and innovation in our fishing industry.”

MP for Totnes, Anthony Mangnall, added: “I am delighted to see a local business at the forefront of developing new technologies to support the fishing industry.

“The fishing industry is extremely valuable to the local area, with Brixham Fish Market having experienced its best year on record in 2021 with sales topping £43.5 million. I hope that other businesses in South Devon are also able to benefit from the UK Seafood Fund to ensure this important sector continues to thrive.”

This funding has been awarded through the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme, established to strengthen relations between industry and research organisations to promote world-class fisheries management. A second round of the funding opens on 2nd March and will remain open for applications until 25th April 2022.