GRANTS worth almost £1 million have been awarded to a number of English fishing companies from the European Fisheries Fund and Marine Management Organisation, formerly the Marine and Fisheries Agency.
The largest single grant totalled more than £422,000 for a new fryline extension at a seafood company in Newton Abbot, Devon.
The project, costing more than £1 million in total including private funding, will see the installation of new equipment for frying and freezing fish and is expected to create at least five jobs in the area. It will also increase the amount of locally sourced fish processed from ports in Devon and Cornwall.
But there is help for the aquaculture industry as well with a tilapia farm in rural Lincolnshire receiving more than £165,000 towards a modernisation programme. A number of Lincolnshire farmers are now turning to fish farming as a means of boosting income.
Around £172,000 has been agreed for box washing equipment on Grimsby Fish Docks, to expand capacity and achieve new ISO hygiene status. The EFF is also giving over £50,000 to Mevagissy Fish Harbour in Cornwall to help fund a fishermen's storage loft.
EFF grants, which generally have to be match funded, are designed to support the restructuring that has become necessary as the fisheries sector has developed, and English fishing projects alone have benefited or are set to benefit by around £38 million in the period 2007 to 2013.
A few months ago Grimsby received around £3 million from the EFF and the UK government to help build a new fish processing park and towards modernising the fish market.