Press release

European Fisheries Fund to boost sustainable fishing in UK

New funding available for fishermen across the UK.


Fishermen across the UK will be able to apply for a share of €243m in new European Maritime and Fisheries Funding (EMFF) to help their businesses adapt to the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and support their long-term sustainability and economic growth Fisheries Minister George Eustice has announced.

The funding secured by the UK government will be open for applications in England from 18 January next year, and will initially focus on supporting our commitment to fish at sustainable levels, as well as boosting the competitiveness of the fishing industry and aquaculture sector.

Funding will be available to support port and harbour improvements and innovation in the processing sector which will provide huge benefits for coastal communities and businesses. Fishermen will also be supported as the discard ban takes effect with EMFF money available to part-fund the purchase or development of innovative gear for more selective fishing, or to help develop new markets for fish that were previously discarded.

In addition Defra has asked Seafish to set up an industry expert panel, covering the fisheries chain in England, to advise on how EMFF funding can be used to best promote economic growth in the sector. Together this scheme is vital to help our industry adapt to the challenges of the future while supporting business.

Commenting on the funding agreement, Marine and Fisheries Minister, George Eustice said:

Fishermen in every part of the UK can receive support as they continue to develop their businesses and adapt to the sustainability commitments under the new Common Fisheries Policy and the phased introduction of the discard ban.

These grants, combined with the flexibilities we secured will help our fishermen to adapt to the discard ban, will help us to achieve our ambitions of a profitable fishing industry by protecting our fish stocks for the long-term and safeguarding a healthy marine environment.

Further information

  • The UK strategy for the €243m European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) has now been agreed with the European Commission (EC) paving the way for the EMFF scheme to open on 18th January 2016.
  • The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2014-2020 (EMFF) is designed to help fishermen across all Member States by financing projects including to support coastal communities and help them fish more sustainably.
  • This UK scheme is administered separately in England by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), in Scotland by Marine Scotland, in Wales by the Welsh Government and in Northern Ireland by the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • The UK’s allocation of EMFF funding is distributed to each devolved nation based on factors including respective sizes of fleet, number of ports, sizes of industry and in light of previous historical allocations.
  • When the scheme opens on 18th January 2016 the funding opportunities which are available will be published on the MMO website.
  • A pelagic discard ban for mid-water species like mackerel and herring was introduced in January 2015. From 01 January 2016 fishermen targeting demersal species like haddock, sole and plaice will be subject to a discard ban. For more information see Fisheries Management: Landling Obligations.
Published 9 December 2015