UK’s largest trout producer receives £200,000 in COVID-19 funding

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“This new funding is being awarded to businesses working in rural areas who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic.”

Trout producers are to get a share of £800,000 of funding to help make improvements to their businesses to mitigate the impact of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Scottish Government wrote in a press release.

The grants from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to 11 aquaculture businesses include GBP 200,000 for new specialist trout harvesting equipment at Dawnfresh Seafoods site in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

This investment for small aquaculture businesses is in addition to hardship payments of up to GBP 27,000 which were launched as a direct response to COVID-19 last month.

Fergus Ewing, Scottish Rural Economy Secretary. PHOTO SNP

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said “that the pandemic has been devastating leaving many businesses at risk of financial ruin”.

“This new funding is being awarded to businesses working in rural areas who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic, helping them to strengthen their business and recover from the loss of markets.

“Aquaculture is an important part of our food and drink success story which we need to preserve. In addition to this EMFF funding, over the last month we have provided hardship funding payments worth more than £340,000 to 28 eligible shellfish growers and trout farmers,” he added.

Dawnfresh is the largest trout producer in the UK, and the largest supplier of Scottish loch trout in the world. In January, Dawnfresh’s 2019 operating loss was down slightly to GBP 1.8 million, from GBP 1.9 million in 2019. Its saving grace was that turnover was boosted by UK retail and export sales, the latter which grew by 33 per cent. This year however, export markets across the board have been massively reduced because of the pandemic.