Guidance

Maritime and Fisheries Fund (MFF): apply for funding

Apply for Maritime and Fisheries Funds (MFF) and download guidance documents and application forms.

You should read the MFF General Guidance (RTF, 1.66MB) note and the specific guidance note relating to the type of project you want to apply for before completing and submitting your application online.

You should apply online using the MFF E-System

The MFF e-system applicant user guide will assist you in your application.

MFF assessment panel for applications over £100,000

The MMO will be holding panels to consider MFF applications for projects costing £100,000 and over. Any project applications costing £100,000 and over received after the dates shown below will not be considered at that panel. Applications of less than £100,000 will continue to be assessed on a regular basis and are not affected by these deadlines.

Eligibility

There are different eligibility requirements depending on who you are and what project you are applying for. In general, to qualify for MFF funds you need to be a private business and your project needs to support the overall aims of the MFF which are to:

  • make the fisheries and aquaculture sectors more sustainable
  • conservation of the marine environment

Projects from public applicants or those that don’t support the aims won’t be eligible for support. These themes are broad so if you are unsure contact the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for details. For more details about eligibility, see the guidance notes for the application type that is relevant to your project. If your project has already been supported with funds from another source (such as another public body), you may not be eligible for full MFF funding support.

Projects to be considered under the MFF scheme should not have a total project cost exceeding €2million based on relevant exchange rates.

Applicants cannot be awarded more than €1million, based on relevant exchange rates, in any calendar year during the scheme, including the accumulated values of multiple projects.

Proceed at your own Risk

You cannot start your project before you receive confirmation that we have received your application. You can start your project after you receive this confirmation, but this is at your own risk. If your application is not approved, any costs you pay will not be eligible to be claimed.

Certain applicants are not eligible to apply for funding under the MFF scheme.

  • Public applicants are not eligible for funding under MFF. This includes public organisations, businesses, charities or training or educational institutions.
  • If you have committed and been convicted of a ‘serious infringement’ in the 12 months before you apply, you won’t be eligible for MFF funds. A serious infringement of rules includes things like:
  • you don’t hold a valid licence
  • you haven’t used compliant fishing gear
  • you have broken conservation rules
  • you have obstructed an inspection or observation

If you have committed and been convicted of fraud in the context of any fisheries funding schemes you will not be eligible for MFF funding support. Fraud includes things that have enabled you to wrongfully receive funds, examples of this are:

  • you have used or presented false, incorrect or incomplete statements or documents
  • you have not disclosed information where you are in breach of a specific obligation
  • you have used other fisheries funds for purposes other than those for which they were originally granted
  • you have misused the benefits of your project

If you have committed and been convicted of either fraud or a serious infringement please read the Guidance for the application of points system for serious infringements (MS Word Document, 210KB) .

Expression of interest

You can complete an Expression of Interest Form (MS Word Document, 128KB) with help from the Expression of Interest Guidance (MS Word Document, 57.4KB) note and send it to the MMO if you want us to check if your initial project idea is feasible.

The MMO will then assess your project and tell you if you can apply and how you should do so. If the MMO invites you to complete a full application, this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a grant.

You don’t have to do this, if you prefer you can make a full application for funding without initial advice.

How to apply

You should apply online using the MFF E-System

The MFF e-system applicant user guide will assist you in your application.

The main focus of the MFF scheme in England will be projects which support the adaptation to the fisheries sectors to deliver economic growth. Examples of possible MFF projects which will be available for funding are:

  • new or innovative fishing gear onboard fishing vessels which helps to reduce unwanted catches
  • purchase of onshore refrigeration units in a port or harbor to assist improving catch quality or management of discards
  • installation of handrails and ladders to improve the safety of fishermen on board fishing vessels.
  • modernisation or development of aquaculture units
  • improved seafood processing in an existing facility

There are different types of application depending on the project you are applying for.

Each application type has different guidance notes associated with it. Make sure you read the relevant guidance notes carefully before you start your application. There is also a General Guidance (RTF, 1.66MB) for the scheme.

You will be able to apply for MFF funds by filling in an application form using the MFF E-System. You can find copies of the guidance notes on this page. We have published these to help you decide whether you want to apply for MFF funding. You should be aware that the guidance notes and any associated documents may be subject to change before the scheme opens, or at any time. If you cannot use the MFF E-System, other formats of the application form will be available on request.

To use the MFF E-System, you will need to register either as yourself or your organisation. There are many benefits to using the e-system to apply for the MFF. These include:

  • reducing duplication as the system will save your details when you register, so you will not have to enter these every time you apply
  • the e-system will check that you have given all the required information to complete your application
  • keeping you better informed as you can check the progress of your application or claim on the e-system and keep track of all the applications you have submitted
  • all of the documents related to your application can be uploaded to the e-system, so they can be accessed easily
  • you will receive reminders by email prompting you to take actions such as submitting your claim

The application form will ask you to fill in information about the following:

  • yourself, your business and your vessel, if relevant
  • your project
  • how much your project will cost
  • the impact your project will have
  • how you plan to fund your project

You will need to submit quotations and/or tenders for the work you are applying for support for. Depending on your application and project type, you may also need to submit additional evidence such as a:

  • certificate of registry for your vessel
  • MFF business case template with more details on your project if this is needed – see General Guidance for more details.

Applications and guidance

All applicants applying to the MFF scheme must read the MFF general guidance as well as the project specific guidance before applying.

General Guidance (RTF, 1.66MB)

Support for fishing vessel energy improvements

If you are applying for new energy efficient fishing gear, energy efficiency audits and schemes, or studies of alternative propulsion systems and hull designs you need to use the guidance specific to this area.

1. Support for fishing vessel energy improvements (RTF, 1.3MB)

Support for investments on board fishing vessels

If you are applying for MFF funding for investments on board vessels, you need to use the application type specific to this area in the MFF E-System. You should read the guidance notes before completing your application.

2. Support for Investments on Board Fishing Vessels (MS Word Document, 304KB)

Support for improvements to shore-based facilities

If you are applying for MFF funding for improvements to shore-based facilities, you need to use the application type specific to this area in the MFF E-System. You should read the guidance notes before completing your application.

3. Support for Improvements to Shore-Based Facilities (MS Word Document, 146KB)

Support for partnerships and information sharing

If you are applying for MFF funding for projects related to partnerships and information sharing, you need to use the application type specific to this area in the MFF E-System. Partnerships and information sharing includes advisory services, training, innovation, diversification and increasing environmental awareness. You should read the guidance notes before completing your application.

4. Support for partnerships information sharing advisory services job creation and training applications (RTF, 1.43MB)

The marine environment and inland fishing

If you are applying for MFF funding for seafood processing and fisheries management, you need to use the application type specific to this area in the MFF E-System. You should read the guidance notes before completing your application.

5. The Marine environment and Inland Fishing (RTF, 2.08MB)

Support for aquaculture, processing and marketing

If you are applying for MFF funding for projects related to aquaculture, animal health and inland fishing, you need to use the application type specific to this area in the MFF E-System. You should read the guidance notes before completing your application.

6. Support for Aquaculture Processing and Marketing (RTF, 2.25MB)

When you submit your application

Once you submit your MFF funding application to the MMO, we will send you confirmation that your application has been received. You cannot start your project before you receive confirmation that we have received your application. You can start your project after you receive this confirmation, but this is at your own risk. If your application is not approved, any costs you pay will not be eligible to be claimed. If you prefer to wait until your application has been assessed before starting work you can choose to do this.

We will then start to assess whether your project can receive funding.

We aim to consider your application in 40 working days. After this we will tell you whether we have approved it or not. Applications over £100,000 total cost are considered at regular Panel meetings and decisions of funding may take longer to be reached.

Details of future panel dates will be published in due course.

Who will process your application?

The Grants Team within the MMO processes applications for MFF funding. Their contact details are:

The Grants Team
Marine Management Organisation
West Wing
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle Business Park
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE4 7YH

Telephone: 0208 026 5539

Email: mff.queries@marinemanagement.org.uk

First checks of your application

We will look at your application to make sure that the:

  • required sections of the application have been completed and enough information has been provided that we can make a decision
  • application passes the general eligibility checks
  • application passes the financial eligibility checks

If your application doesn’t have all the required information we will contact you in order to get more information from you. The sooner you can get back to us the better so we can continue assessing your application.

Assessing your application

We will then decide whether to give you funding under the MFF scheme, using specific selection criteria. This will either be done by the MMO or by a selection panel depending on the cost of your project. In England, if the value of your project is less than £100,000, the Grants team will assess your application. If the value is higher than £100,000, a selection panel will assess your application. The selection panel meets three times a year:

The timetable of selection panel meeting dates and deadlines to submit applications for panel consideration will be published here shortly.

Your application for funding will be assessed against a set of objectives which have been agreed with the MFF Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) which is made up of representatives from the fisheries, aquaculture and NGO sectors amongst others.

This assessment will establish how your application for funding support the overall aims of the MFF programme. Further details on the specific areas your application will be assessed against can be found within the MFF Selection criteria

Once your application has been assessed we will contact you to tell you our decision. Once your application has been approved, you will receive an offer letter. This letter will tell you:

  • the amount of money you have been awarded and where the money is coming from
  • the schedule of works agreed and the supplier responsible
  • how the project is funded (who is providing funds and how much)
  • a breakdown of the costs approved (for example, equipment purchase and salaries)
  • any targets your project will need to achieve in order to receive the money
  • the date your project will need to be completed by
  • the date your claim(s) will need to be submitted by (taken from your application)
  • any other terms and conditions associated with the offer
  • what you need to do next

You will need to accept this offer of MFF funds before you can make a claim. We will also include a form for you to provide us with your bank details to enable you to receive payment for your claim.

Durability of Operations

To ensure the effectiveness, fairness and sustainable impact of the intervention of the MFF scheme, provisions guaranteeing that investments in businesses and infrastructures are long-lasting and prevent MFF from being used to undue advantage should be in place.

Therefore items purchased using public funding from the MFF Scheme must be owned and used for their original purpose for a minimum of five years, except where State aid rules provide for a different period or the items are leased, see the Leasing of items or equipment section for more advice.

In the case of a project comprising investment in infrastructure or productive investment, and where the applicant is not a Micro, small or medium enterprise (SME), an applicant will be required to repay the funding contribution from the MFF if, within 10 years of the final payment to the project, the project or its activity is subject to relocation outside of England

Some or all of the funding for projects that do not meet the Durability of Operations above will be recovered.

If your application is declined

If the MMO declines your application, you will be sent a letter that explains why. You can appeal this decision through the MMO if you think that:

  • it was based on a factual error
  • it was legally wrong
  • the MMO made an error in processing your application

You have 28 days after the date of the decline letter to ask the MMO to review their decision. An Independent appeal officer will consider your application in full against the selection criteria. The appeal will either pass which means the original decision is overturned or fail and the original decision is upheld.

We will notify you of the outcome of your appeal within 6 weeks of receiving it.

If your appeal is successful and the original decision is overturned you will be issued with either an offer of funds letter or a partial offer letter.

If your appeal is unsuccessful the appeal decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into. However you can reapply and your new application will be considered without prejudice.

What happens after you receive your MFF funds?

Once you have started working on your project, you will need to send us reports to show what progress you are making. You can see how often you need to send us these reports in your offer letter. We may also contact you additionally to receive further information about your project.

Contact us

The Grants Team
Marine Management Organisation
West Wing
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle Business Park
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE4 7YH

Telephone: 0208 026 5539

Email: mff.queries@marinemanagement.org.uk

Published 24 October 2019