£1.25 million fund to help salmon farmers freeze stock

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Compensating for the costs of transport, processing and cold storage for salmon and trout. “Our current focus is on building up harvest levels to meet this growing demand for fresh salmon and we are hopeful that this will continue, avoiding the need to rely heavily on freezing stock,” said one salmon farmer.

Salmon and trout farmers affected by the collapse of international markets due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can apply to cover the costs of maintaining unsold stock through a new £1.25 million fund, according to the Scottish Government.

The scheme, which is being funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, will support businesses by compensating for the costs of transport, processing and cold storage for salmon, trout and shellfish until the end of 2020.

Challenging time
“This has been a challenging time for the aquaculture sector with businesses unable to bring products to market but continuing to face high operational costs,” said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

“This new funding, which will provide financial support for cold storing salmon, trout and shellfish, will mean businesses will be able to cover some of the additional costs they have faced trying to preserve stock during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Farmed salmon is Scotland’s most important food product and valuable food export and we want to support the sector through these challenging times.”

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said:
“Our farmers have worked tirelessly through this lockdown period to keep farms running, to protect the health and welfare of their workers and salmon and to maintain supplies to customers.

Salmon farmers
SalmonBusiness asked several salmon farmers if they would need the help and how much stock they were freezing. None would comment on how much current frozen stock they had.

PHOTO: Scottish Salmon Company/AllsignsScotland

“There has been innovation by farmers in finding new markets because of the drop in export demand due to COVID-19 restrictions. But there is still a need for some of them for temporary storage, until overseas markets start to normalise again. We are delighted that the Scottish Government has managed to access European funds to help with this process,” said a spokesperson for Scottish Sea Farms.

Mowi head of sales Georgina Wright told SalmonBusiness that that this was not an issue: “We welcome the government support in this matter, and recognise the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on logistics within the food sectors. This is not an issue at this time, as Mowi currently has freezing capacity within its supply value chain.”

“We are starting to see export orders increase as more of our markets across the world emerge from lockdown. Our current focus is on building up harvest levels to meet this growing demand for fresh salmon and we are hopeful that this will continue, avoiding the need to rely heavily on freezing stock,” said a spokersperson from the Bakkafrost-owned Scottish Salmon Company.