Information about the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme
This page provides an overview of the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS) and how to apply. For detailed information, including definitions, please read the general scheme guidance document.
About the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme
The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme will provide financial support for projects in England that secure sustainable growth across the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors, and that protect and enhance the marine environment.
Aims of the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme
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.
Who cannot apply for funding?
You cannot apply for and receive funding if you have:
- been convicted of fraud under any other fisheries scheme;
- been convicted of an offence that the MMO considers to be a ‘serious infringement ’ or fraud, in the 12 months before applying.
Please read the Guidance on Inadmissibility and fraud here.
What activities the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme can support
You must review the relevant guidance note for the project you are seeking funding for. These set out what you can and cannot apply for. The guidance notes cover:
If we consider that you can afford your project without the scheme’s support, your project will not be approved.
As a minimum, all projects will be assessed for value for money, benefits to be delivered, affordability and deliverability.
It is your responsibility to ensure that:
- your project is technically viable and complies with all relevant health and safety legislation, other project specific safety requirements, and all other legal requirements;
- gear purchased with scheme funding meets all necessary legal requirements. If gear purchased subsequently becomes obsolete or illegal, then this is at your own risk. There can be no refunds or claims against the scheme;
- all relevant legal requirements of the project are complied with
What activities the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme can’t support
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
Please contact the MMO if you are unsure whether your project is eligible or ineligible for funding.
How to apply
All applicants applying to the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme must read the general guidance document (link) as well as the project specific guidance (link) before applying.
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 be able to claim back up to 10% of the total eligible project for costs incurred prior to the date of the acknowledgement received from the MMO. These costs must be for activities that were directly related to the project and the provision of professional services that assisted the application to proceed to application stage, for example architects plans. We will decide if you are eligible to reclaim these costs and our decision is final.
If you start work before receiving your acknowledgement email, your project may be ineligible for funding.
Expression of Interest (EOI)
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.
Please see our additional guidance for support on how to Lodge an Expression of Interest
You should apply online using the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme E-System.
You will need the following information to hand in order to complete the application:
- The appropriate guide for completing your application form;
- Your business details such as your accounts, business registration number and VAT registration number.
More information on the supporting documentation needed is available within the general scheme guidance document.
After you apply
We will contact you within 5 working days to confirm receipt of your application. After this you can begin work on the project, but this is entirely at your own risk. The item, supplier and cost must be the same as in your application: any deviation will make the costs ineligible.
We will assess your application within 8 weeks of its receipt and notify you if any further information is required. Once we have all the required information to allow us to make a decision, we will contact you to tell you if your application has been successful or not.
If approved you must update us on the progress of your project when you make a claim for payment, whichever is sooner.
You can also find further detail in the post-application guidance document.
Marine Management Organisation
Hampshire Court Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 020802 65539